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Antibody Testing Starts on Greek Islands

Αssociated Press

In this Monday, May 25, 2020 photo, a doctor of the National Health Organization (EODY) carries the tests for coronavirus taken on local residents on the Aegean Sea island of Sikinos, Greece. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS - Greek islands are key to the smooth restart of the tourism season, said President of the National Public Health Organization (EODY) Panagiotis Arkoumaneas, speaking on Athens-Macedonian News Agency's (ANA-MPA) radio station Praktoreio 104.9 FM on Tuesday.

 This is why, he added, floating health laboratories have collected sample checks at the islands of Milos, Sifnos, Folegandros and Kimolos, while antibody tests will be carried out next week at all 16 islands by EODY.

With the tourism season officially launching on June 15, when hotels reopen and incoming flights are allowed, Arkoumaneas underlined that EODY is on standby for the World Health Organization's list of all the countries' epidemiological performance, as this is likely to affect how health authorities in Greece carry out sample checks and more case-specific tests.

EODY's mobile health units are performing sample tests from Xanthi in northern Greece to the island of Crete in the south, he stressed, even though "all our attention is focused on the islands, as health coverage is more difficult there."

He then added that the strengthening of health stuctures there "is being implemented in terms of both human resources and also personal health safety protection (...), while the National Emergency Response Ambulance Service (EKAB) will be able to carry out more air transfers of patients if needed," from islands to the mainland.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health in a Tuesday announcement said it has secured an antibody test that will be performed first on all health professionals and employees in the National Health System (NHS) across the country by the end of June, with some hospitals and health centers in Attica region having already began using these tests on their employees as of Monday.