ATHENS – An August resurgence of COVID-19 in Greece fell back with a drop in cases after the New Democracy government imposed more health protocols requiring wearing masks in more places, but too late to save summer tourism.
The death toll hit 260 on Aug. 29 but new infections for the 24-hour period fell from 270 the day before to 177, the National Organization for Public Health (EODY) reported, said Kathimerini.
Despite that the number of people on ventilators in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) rose slightly by one to 36, according to EODY’s daily bulletin, which said 21 of the latest cases were tourists, who were allowed into the country starting in July.
There were 9,977 Coronavirus cases, the numbers soaring in late summer after an early lockdown March 23 that was gradually lifted week-by-week beginning May 4 saw numbers rise again over complacency in ignoring health measures and wild parties on islands and in bars and nightclubs.
One in five, or 20.4% of cases – 2,033 -are linked to travel abroad and 44.1% or 4,402 have been traced to another patient, the report said, adding ominously that the averge age of those infected, at first mostly among the old and those with underlying conditions, falling 39 years old from 49 in late April.
That confirmed fears among health authorities that the young, some of whom said openly they can't get COVID-19 because it's an old person's disease, were catching and spreading infections by defying health requirements.
Deputy Minister for Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias meanwhile urged vigilance among the country’s Muslim community while observing Ashura, a major Shiite holiday, so that the virus won't spread there.
He said face masks must be worn at public gatherings and other places designated by the government, such as supermarkets and that people should avoid forming or getting near large crowds after photos and videos showed that was widely being disdained at their peril.
Police have also stepped up enforcement in looking for individual and business violators, people facing 150 euro ($178.60) fines for not wearing masks or keeping a social distance of at least 1.5 meters (4.92 feet) and clubs and bars risking a 10,000-euro ($11,906.49) fine and temporary closure.