Greek Scientist Fears Post COVID-19 Parties Will Bring Virus Back


(Eurokinissi/ Sotiris Dimitropoulos)

ATHENS - After posting one of the world’s best records in holding down the number of cases and deaths from COVID-19, a Greek microbiologist said he’s worried large parties in the aftermath of a lockdown being lifted will see the Coronavirus return.

“Parties will be our undoing,” Alkiviadis Vatopoulos, a professor  at the National School of Public Health, told SKAI TV, after reports emerged over the weekend of a beach party in the western port of Patra that had more than 1,000 people.

The large gatherings are in defiance of health measures in place since the lockdown was ended, leaving the New Democracy government pleading with people to obey and scrambling to find some way to get them to comply.

At least seven beach clubs were fined and closed up to 60 days - pending appeal - but there seems to be no stopping people from mass gatherings after they were mostly locked in their homes for almost two months.

Vatopoulos said that while he understood the desire to let loose after the lockdown, that it’s too risky for mass gatherings, especially with people also ignoring requirements to wear masks and stay at least 1.5 meters (4.92 feet) apart.

“The least people can do is avoid unnecessary gatherings,” Vatopoulos said, although scenes of young people apparently believing they are invulnerable have continued across the country.

“If someone has the flu let’s assume that they have Coronavirus until proven otherwise,” he said, advising caution, similar to the government’s advice and requirements that have largely been ignored.