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Mass Testing for COVID-19 Underway in Northern Greece

Αssociated Press

A medical staff of the National Health Organization (EODY) conducts a test for the new coronavirus in central Athens, on Monday. Sept. 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

EDESSA, Greece -- An intensive effort to track and trace the contacts of 114 cannery workers that have tested positive for the novel coronavirus was launched in the Pella region on Saturday, with 18 teams from the National Organisation for Public Health (NOPH) conducting mass testing in the area, especially around the cannery in Mavrovouni, Skydra.

A meeting to review the situation was held at the headquarters of the Pella regional unit with the NOPH President Panagiotis Arkoumaneas, deputy governor for Pella Iordanis Tzamtzis, local mayors and the heads of local health services and the Edessa hospital, as well as the head of the police.

The 114 cases were detected after testing 427 staff on the production line, while more than 50 staff in the exports department were tested on Saturday and public buildings were disinfected.

"There are NOPH teams throughout the Pella prefecture. There are three teams in Skydra today, two in the Almopia municipality, at Krya Vrysi and the Edessa municipality at a home for the elderly. They will continue testing over the next days, to trace and take samples so that the size of the viral load in the region can be estimated," the deputy governor said after the meeting.

Given that Pella was already under an enhanced surveillance regime, Tzamtzis said he was not aware of plans to impose further restrictions but noted that civil protection and the NOPH were now providing a list of those infected to the police, to enable them to monitor the strict observance of the measures and the 14-day quarantine imposed on those that have tested positive for the virus.

He said that regional authorities had also undertaken to conduct inspections at all factories in the region to check that rules and health protocols were being followed and appealed for the universal use of masks, both indoors and outdoors, "to protect ourselves, our families and society."