Greece Announces New Restrictions on Coronavirus High-Alert Regions

ATHENS — Deputy Minister for Civil Protection & Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias provided an update of the high-alert status of several cities in Greece, during a live coronavirus pandemic briefing on Friday.

Besides three communities in Konitsa, Ioannina and Samos island coming under a 24-hour curfew and restrictions on Saturday, Hardalias also noted the following areas will go on high alert as of 06:00 the same day, due to a high infection rate: the region of Kilkis; the municipalities of Serres, Konitsa; and the islands of Skyros, Astypalea, Rhodes, and Chalki.

Leros island is showing improvement and will be downgraded to high-alert status, as civil protections and extra measures there have come full circle.

Thesprotia Region, Heraklion on Crete and Metsovo in Epirus are all being downgraded to regular alert status.

Meanwhile, Attica and Thessaloniki, along with Lesvos, Myconos and several other areas will remain high-alert areas for the time being.

The number of active coronavirus cases in Greece risen significantly this week while pressure on the National Health System continues with higher admissions, infectious diseases professor Gkikas Magiorkinis said during the same briefing.

Magiorkinis, who joined two ministers and a fellow doctor at the briefing, noted that the rise in hospital admissions (8 pct) was accompanied by a rise in Covid-19 patients discharged also. The average rate of new hospital admissions was 500 during this past week, with a slight rise in deaths (up to 70 a day).

In the two most populated regions in Greece, the doctor said, infections rose by 4 pct in Attica Region and 25 pct in Thessaloniki during this week. The age group of 40-65 continues to lead in infections among all age groups in the pandemic in Greece.

Magiorkinis also provided detailed directions of what to do if a self test – which will be available to the public shortly – came out positive, including isolating the infected person and keeping separate utensils, wearing masks, and keeping windows half-open in the house.

Vaccination results showing in older age groups

Greek hospitals have a long way before they become decongested, said professor of pediatric infectious diseases Vana Papaevangelou at the live briefing on Friday, but vaccinations are already effecting a drop in admissions for certain age groups.

The doctor note particularly that there is a significant drop in infections among those aged 75 or over, as well admissions of those aged of 60-64 in intensive care units. All these are age groups that have been vaccinated.

Leading however in infections in Greece is the group with a median age of 45 years, for which vaccinations have not yet begun, she noted.

Papaevangelou said that there were two trends, a steep rise in infections – 19,000 nationally just this past week, a 6.8 pct positive test rate per 100,000 of population – but at the same time a trend of stabilizing in the southern half of the country, including Attica Region.

Right now, active infections stand at 27,000 nationwide. Half of these are located in the region of Attica, where hospitals are still under immense pressure. But the trend is stabilizing there, while infections in northern Greece and at islands are rising, she added. This past week, new infections in Thessaloniki rose by 28 pct. The city has 2,000 active infections.

Nationally, some 5,200 patients are hospitalized in regular (non-ICU) Covid-19 wards.

Referring to the coronavirus home tests, Papaevangelou said they are "a significant weapon" against the dispersal of the virus.



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