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Greece Sees Significant Decrease in COVID-19 Cases, Deaths Still High

November 23, 2020

ATHENS — The National Public Health Organization (EODY) said on Monday there were 1,388 new novel coronavirus infections in Greece in the last 24 hours, of which 11 were identified at entry points to the country.

Greece has had a total of 93,006 novel coronavirus infections since the pandemic broke out. Of these, 4,823 are related to travel abroad and 23,998 with already known cases, EODY said.

In hospitals, 549 patients are on ventilators. Their median age is 65, a majority of 81.2 pct have an underlying condition or are aged 70 or more, and 151 are women. Another 482 have been discharged from ICUs so far.

EODY also said there were another 84 deaths in the last 24 hours, with fatalities officially standing at 1,714 in Greece since the pandemic started. The median age of all deceased was 80 and 97.1 pct had an underlying condition and/or were aged 70 or more, while 678 were women.

Epidemiological data a key factor for a potential lockdown lifting

The government's decision on when and how the current lockdown is lifted will be based exclusively on epidemiological data, the development of the current second wave of the pandemic and the experts' conclusions, said Deputy Minister for Civil Protection & Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias during Monday's live briefing.

The minister noted that the pandemic seems to follow a relative stabilization trend, and reiterated that the government's sole priority is the protection of human lives.

Keeping up with restrictive measures is every person's only way to ensure one's well-being, he stressed, and insisted on everyone's due diligence.

Number of infections appear to be dropping, but situation remains critical

The number of new SARS-CoV-2 diagnoses appear to be dropping in Europe, but the number of fatalities remains high, doctor Gkikas Magiorkinis said during the live briefing on the coronavirus pandemic in Greece, on Monday.

Magiorkinis, member of the Health ministry's experts committee on the novel coronavirus, said that in Greece as well active infections appear to be dropping. In addition, the rate of tests coming out positive also appears to be dropping by around 50 pct, relative to last Monday. "This drop is particularly notable in large urban centers – Attica and Thessaloniki regions – which suggests there is a margin to improve compliance with restriction measures in the rest of Greece," he said.

The doctor warned however that the viral load is "extremely heavy in northern Greece, particularly Thessaloniki," and other northern cities, as well as Thessaly, central Greece.

"Last week, Attica showed clear signs of small improvement, and Thessaloniki did as well, but it's too early to reach safe conclusions," Magiorkinis said, adding that the situation remains critical and observing measures is necessary for the lifting of the lockdown, "whenever that happens."

Greece has seen daily COVID-19 deaths spiral to above 100 over the weekend, with 108 people dying on Saturday and another 103 on Sunday.

The country of about 11 million people now has more than 92,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,714 deaths — more than 1,000 of which were over the past month — since the start of the pandemic. A second nationwide lockdown was imposed earlier this month until the end of November, but the restrictions are widely expected to be extended into December in some form

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