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Coronavirus Infection Rates Slowing in Greece, but Active Cases Still High

December 5, 2020

ATHENS – The rate of transmission for the novel coronavirus at large urban centers remains low, University of Athens Medical School professor Gkikas Magiorkinis said on Friday, during the live briefing on the pandemic's progress in Greece.

Magiorkinis, a member of the experts committee at the Health ministry, warned however that active cases are still extremely high, despite a drop of new infections by 15-20 pct in Athens and 20-22 pct in Thessaloniki. Active cases are the confirmed infections which have yet to complete the 14-day cycle of home isolation.

There is also a slight reduction in new infections among people aged 65 years or more.

A reduction in morbidity numbers continued, he said, although at a slower rate than that of last week. 

Magiorkinis called on the public to be extremely careful, especially residents of towns and villages. "The fact they don't live in large cities doesn't mean the virus will not affect them," he said.

Tough chain to break

As doctor Vana Papaevangelou said at the briefing, the transmission chain of the novel coronavirus does not appear to be breaking, .

Papaevangelou, also a member of the experts committee at the Health ministry, said the persistence of the high dispersal rates were aided by the work-to-home infections, especially under the lockdown, when family members infected one another.

Overall, she said, the infection rates appear to be dropping and the median age of people becoming infected has risen to 49 years. 

In addition, intensive care units are under a lot of pressure, she stressed, as they were nearly or over 80 percent full in Athens and 94 pct full in Thessaloniki. Of Friday's new cases, 316 are located in Attica region and 367 in the Thessaloniki one. The latter region accounts for the greater part of northern Greece's national lead in new and active infection rates.

Northern Greece high #s

Deputy Minister for Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias said at the briefing that the number of Greece's active coronavirus cases is 16,617.

Most of the active cases total – that is, 7,031 cases (42.3 pct) – are located in the Central Macedonia region and 3,267 (19.7 pct) in the Attica region, he noted. In other words, an 86.1 pct of all the active cases are located at 5 of the country's 13 regions, with a 66.4 pct concentrated in northern Greece, and 17.9 pct in Attica. Thessaly in central Greece accounts for 1,777 of these, or 10.7 pct.

Greece's regions which continue to present alarming infection figures are Drama, Imathia, Florina, Pella and Pieria, all in northern Greece. 

New restrictions

Hardalias also announced two preventative measures, effective as of 06:00 on Monday: anyone who tests positive at the country's entry points will be refused entry, and entry to the monastic community of Mt. Athos by anyone who does not live there permanently is forbidden. 

Friday statistics

The National Public Health Organization, in its daily bulletin on novel coronavirus infections, confirmed the following numbers on Friday:

– 1,667 new cases, 9 of which were identified at entry points to the country

– 113,185 total confirmed SARS-CoV-2 cases in Greece since the start of the pandemic, of which 4,966 are linked to travel abroad and 29,765 to already known cases

– 612 intubated patients in hospitals. Their median age is 65, 76.0 pct have an underlying condition or are over 70 years old, and 175 are women

– 635 have been discharged from ICUs since the start of the pandemic in Greece

– 98 have died in the last 24 hours, with the total standing now at 2,804 since the first outbreak. The median age of all was 79 years and 96.6 pct had an underlying condition and/or were aged 70 or more. Of the deceased, 1,118 were women.

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