COVID-19 Cases Rising on Greek Islands, Poros Locked Down

ATHENS — With growing cases of COVID-19 on islands, especially those not enforcing allegedly strict health protocols, a night curfew was imposed on Poros after 13 people were found infected with the virus.

That came after officials closed a popular beach bar in Mykonos after seven employees tested positive for the novel coronavirus, broadcaster SKAI reported as defiance kept up there with wild partying.

Tests were conducted on the personnel of Alemagou bar-restaurant after one worked proved positive for the virus which spread quickly to other workers although there weren't reports if partygoers had gotten it too.

On Poros, all businesses must close from 11 p.m.-7a.m. and there's a ban on all gathering public or private of more than nine people without an explanation why the virus can't spread in small groups with health advisories warning it could be caught from a single person.

Also ordered to close were farmers’ markets, village festivals and other such gatherings, as well as a cap of four (or six if they belong to the same household) on the number of people allowed to sit at the same cafe or restaurant table.

Masks have also been made mandatory in all public spaces, indoor and out although there's defiance in some spots, especially supermarkets which are not fully enforcing the requirement on the mainland.

The restrictions will apply at least through Aug. 17, after which another assessment will be made, but it was another blow to Greece's hopes for any kid of summer tourism season with far fewer arrivals than expected.

“The last few days have been worrying, as we have seen a significant relaxation and a rise of cases. But our safety depends on our individual conscience,” said Attica Regional Governor Giorgos Patoulis, President of the Athens Medical Association, reported Kathimerini.

Attica and the northern region of Thessaloniki were responsible for the majority of 153 COVID-19 cases reported Aug. 6, according to the daily bulletin published by the National Organization for Public Health (EODY), with 40 and 38 confirmed infections in the country's two largest cities.

Teams from the National Public Health Organization (EODY) ran tests on a total of 80 people, all of whom were told to isolate in their residences regardless of their test results with no word how that could be enforced.

The new cases brought the nationwide total since the start of the pandemic to 5,123, while the number of patients in intensive care also rose from 13 to 14, though the death toll remained stable at 210.

Eighteen of the new cases concerned travelers coming or returning from abroad, while an outbreak at a wedding in Alexandroupoli in northern Greece last month resulted in four more people becoming infected, the paper said.

During a press briefing on Thursday, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said that there are three main areas of concern but no reports of mass closings of violating restaurants, bars or businesses despite hundreds of fines of 150 euros ($177.33) for individual offenders.

A key worry, he said, is over ethnic Greeks and others making frequent trips to and from the Balkans, “as though there is nothing wrong, ignoring the epidemic outbreaks in those countries,” without Greece barring from them going there.

He said the other cause of concern appears to be crowding at bars and big social events which are allowed to keep operating despite breaking the law, and that public transportation is a hot spot too.


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