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EU Raises Coronavirus Risk Alert, Greece Pushes Information Campaign

March 3, 2020

ATHENS – Greece’s Health Ministry is stepping up a public information plan about how people can protect themselves from the coronavirus, with seven cases in the country and the European Union raising its alert level to high for the disease, now called Covid-19.

The Health Ministry is putting messages on TV and social media aimed at ensuring that people observe basic hygiene rules, especially washing hands regularly and the right way, to ward off spreading or contracting the disease.

The ministry also sent an informative statement to taxpayers using the Independent Authority for Public Revenue’s (AADE) database.

Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias urged Greeks and others living in the country to help stop the spread. “Using the guidelines given by the experts, every individual has to protect him and herself,” he said.

The New Democracy government already has in place an emergency plan if there is an outbreak, including closing down public spaces after already cancelling pre-Easter carnivals across the country.

Four of the infections were found in people who had traveled to northern Italy – the hardest hit country where there are some 2,000 cases and 52 deaths so far, the goverment there closing down whole regions and towns in a tourist popular area.

The other three are relatives of Greeks infected in Italy and all the patients were being treated in hospitals in Athens and Thessaloniki and, according to sources, display only mild symptoms, said Kathimineri.

That didn’t bring calm as in the early stages of the coronavirus cases being confirmed, and before they rose, supermarkets said they saw a run on staple goods, including coffee, rice, pasta, beans, and other essentials.

In all cases, experts with the National Health Organization (EODY) have traced those who came into close contact with the patients for at least 15 minutes and submitted them to tests, the paper said.

Greek officials urged all those who traveled to Italy, or China, where the virus first appeared, and who have symptoms of the coronavirus – high temperature, cough, shortness of breath – to contact the state health agency EODY on tel 210-521-2054.

The organization has already received some 40,000 calls since Feb. 26 when Greece’s first case of coronavirus was confirmed and EODY arranged tests for 504 people to check for the disease.

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