ATHENS – Greece’s on-again, off-again second lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 is likely set to get turned on even harder after a sudden rise in cases spooked health authorities.
The New Democracy government’s panel of scientific and medical analysts is checking data daily and was said to be concerned that lenient terms the lockdown that were eased to let stores open again, even with limited customers and reduced shopping times, led to a resurgence.
The biggest worry is in the capital city and surrounding area in the prefecture of Attica, which holds half the country’s population of some 10.35 million people, with scenes of massive overcrowding in shopping areas.
Health measures requiring wearing masks, keeping safe social distances and abiding by a 9 p.m. curfew also slipped into laxity with no reports whether police had kept up their previous frequent inspections and fines for violators.
Also troubling health officials is the appearance of a Coronavirus variant from the hard-hit United Kingdom, which has been reluctant to impose restrictions and a lockdown party said the likely source of the new strain.
Plans to reopen high schools Feb. 1 were postponed with those in the critical “Red Zones” continuing to use remote learning online, proving a problem for families without computers or multiple users working from home.
The changes could see a return to the click-and-collect method of shopping in which purchases are ordered online and reservations made for pickups in person outside stores and personal care businesses needing appointments.
That came as reports showed that national health organization EODY said most of the fatalities from the virus were those over 65, the elderly and people with underlying or multiple conditions the most susceptible.
But most diagnoses concern 40-64-year-olds (41.6 percent,), followed by the 18-39 age group (35.2 percent) while under-17s account for just 6.2 percent of cases, said Kathimerini.
The average age of people diagnosed with the virus is 44. No under-18s had died from the virus as of Jan. 29 while 18-39-year-olds account for just 0.8 percent of fatalities.
Showing how lenient the quasi-lockdown that began Nov. 7 has been is that traffic statistics showed no change on vehicles on roads from January, 2020 before the pandemic struck and a first lockdown brought in March that year and a slight rise after the measures were eased markedly again on Jan. 25.