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21 Greeks Repatriated from Spain Are Infected with Coronavirus

Αssociated Press

FILE - Passengers wearing face masks wait at the Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport, in Athens. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS - Some of the Greek nationals quarantined at hotels after being repatriated from Spain in recent days have tested positive to the coronavirus, Civil protection Deputy Minister Nikos Hardalias said on Tuesday.

At the daily briefing with infectious diseases specialist and spokesman Sotiris Tsiodras, Hardalias said the confirmation of infection proved wrong all critics of the government's stringent measures, of which he said more would follow.

Of 263 passengers from Barcelona and Madrid, 21 tested positive, he revealed. Eleven men and three women on the Barcelona flight and one man and six women on the Madrid flight are infected, Hardalias noted.

"A health bomb was ready to go off, spreading the disease in our country, despite all the measures and sacrifices carried out to prevent the worst from happening," the minister said. "Our decision to isolate those returning to Greece was based on specific protocols that are followed by all other countries as well where coronavirus has spread. We noticed that most infections occurred in cities in northern Spain (...), and we proceed to isolate all those passengers," he added.