ATHENS - Fewer than 1 pct of people in Greece became infected with Covid-19, according to current data, the Health Ministry's coronavirus spokesman Sotiris Tsiodras said on Tuesday evening.
He added that the R0 virus dispersal indicator in Greece now rests at 0.33 pct, much below the R1 baseline, leading to a decision to end the need for televised briefings.
Tsiodras spoke of his collaboration with another 26 health experts on the novel coronavirus, and of his efforts to explain the data to the public "equipped only with honesty and a firm belief in scientific rules," in the midst of great uncertainty about the new virus' behavior. The professor, who became Greece's reference point for medical questions and information, expressed his closeness to the public but said it was time to return to his students and patients.
Reviewing the earlier criticism levelled on him and the health committee at the start of the briefings, he said that Greece passed the first phase of infection with flying colors. "The participation of the public in this effort was decisive - as numbers show, the restrictive measures helped to reduce the spread of the virus in the country by 80 pct," he noted, adding that "without the resulting 10 pct reduction in people's overall contact with other people, the death toll could have skyrocketed to approximately 13,685."
However, he stressed the virus is still at large, and advised dilligent observance by all to health safety protocols for some time to come. He also referred to other vaccinations that were delayed globally because of the pandemic, including "a significant 50 pct reduction of influenza vaccinations in children under 2 years of age worldwide, reaching 70 pct in older people."
The professor also announced 10 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Tuesday and 1 new death in the last 24 hours, and explained that 8 of the 10 new cases are traced to a known source.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Greece, the number of cases has reached 2,892. Of the total cases, 628 concern individuals infected during travel abroad and 1,644 people who were infected in Greece.
In hospitals, 18 people are in intensive care. Their median age is 69 years and 4 of them are women. An overwhelming majority (83.3 pct) have an underlying health issue or are aged 70 or above.
Another 101 have been discharged from intensive care units since the pandemic's outbreak.
In addition, Greece registered another death due to the virus since Monday, bringing the total number of Covid-19 casualties to 173. Their median age was 76 years and 94.8 pct had an underlying health issue and/or were 70+ years old.
Overall, 160,991 tests have been carried out in the country.