ATHENS – Absent from TV for some time with the lifting of a lockdown aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, Deputy Minister for Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias and Health Ministry adviser Sotiris Tsiodras will take to the air again Aug. 4 to warn of the ongoing dangers of ignoring health protocols.
With widespread scenes of people defying requirements to wear masks in most public gathering places and not keep the safe social distance of at least 1.5 meters (4.92 feet) apart, the cases are starting to spike again.
They had fallen during the lockdown and even after for a period before people began getting complacent, health officials said, and with the country opening to tourists who are bringing the virus with them.
Tsiodras was the point man and soft-spoken TV star for the government during the first wave of the pandemic, giving blunt truths and soft assurances during the daily 6 p.m. briefings that assuaged fear.
He will again sit with Hardalias – far apart – to warm about a mounting risk of COVID-19 spreading after some health analysts said there even be a second wave if people don't abide by the restrictions.
“If you us again, it means things are getting difficult,” Hardalias had said at the last public briefing held by the two officials on May 26.
The decision to hold the emergency briefing came after health authorities reported 77 cases on Aug. 3, after 75 the day before and 110 on Aug. 1, most of which were not from tourists.
Meanwhile, the Hellenic Police (ELAS) electronic crimes division sent an Athens prosecutor a file containing its findings from a recent crackdown on the dissemination of false information and dangerous advice over COVID-19.
Investigators acting on the orders of Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis discovered numerous posts on social media and articles on websites dismissing the government’s recommendations for containing the spread of the deadly virus, the sites downplaying the obvious danger.
“We will take all the necessary legal measures so that the public’s health is not being put at risk from the misinformation or conspiracy theories circulating on the internet,” Chrysochoidis said in a statement on the ministry’s website.
“The state will not allow the creation of pockets endangering public health as a result of socially irresponsible behavior,” he added.
Like many other countries, Greece has elements who don't believe there is a virus and those who oppose wearing masks, don't want vaccinations and think the government is making up the pandemic to control them.