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Greece’s Lockdown Seeing COVID-19 Fast Fading Away

Αssociated Press

A man wearing a mask to protect against the spread of the coronavirus walks by shuttered shop in Monastiraki, central Athens during lockdown measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Wednesday, April 22, 2020.(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS -- Unlike countries that didn’t lock down early to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the United States, Spain, and the United Kingdom, the early closing of most businesses in Greece in March is bringing its end.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, relying on a scientific team and medical advice instead politics as in the US and UK, imposed the lockdown on March 23 before a single death, holding down the number of cases and fatalities.

The rate at which COVID-19 is reproducing in Greece is 20 times below that at which it could spread, said Kathimerini in a report on the findings showing the success of the lockdown, although the lifting has seen widespread ignoring or defiance of health measures, including not keeping a social distance.

Increased testing in hotspots where outbreaks occurred, and rapid medical intervention and analysis, also have worked, said a special government committee tasked with monitoring the evolution of the virus in the country.

Greece saw a spike of an average of 22 new infections a day in the June 17-25 period against 13 a day in June 11-17, the report said, adding, however, that the majority of these cases were reported in Xanthi, in northern Greece, which has been dealing with a small outbreak since the start of the month, the paper said.

In Attica new daily cases are in the single figures despite the much larger concentration of the population in the Greek capital, the report noted, according to the paper.

The number of tests also rose to 27.44 per 1,000 residents in June 17-25 against 24.45 per 1,000 the week before that. On average, 4,500 tests were conducted a day in the study period.