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Complaceny Undercuts Greece's COVID-19 Fight, Health Measures Ignored

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(Photo by Eurokinissi/ Yiannis Panagopoulos)

ATHENS – After a long lockdown held down the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, Greece's New Democracy government seems to be losing the fight to keep it that way with widespead defiance of health protocols.

With scenes of Greeks and others in the country not wearing masks in public places nor obeying social distancing requirements to stay at least 1.5 meters (4.92 feet) apart, the government has gotten tough, requiring masks in more places.

But with no reports on fines or other enforcement, the problem is that Greeks have come complacent and acting like there is no Coronavirus in the country, as ignoring the health measures has caused a spike, along with tourists bringing COVID-19 with them.

“We have implemented extensive checks based on a special algorithm developed by the panel of experts, resulting in good control at the (country’s) entrance (points) and good tracking afterwards. So, the imported cases, at the moment, do not seem to be a big problem,” government spokesman Stelios Petsas public broadcaster ERT.

The problem, he continued, is people acting like there is no virus. “This is the enemy. Unacceptable incidents of relaxation, which led us to the decision to take stricter measures, such as the mandatory use of a masks in many enclosed spaces. This measure is expected to be extended if we continue on this path,” he said.

As of July 31, Greece had 4,401 cases and 203 deaths, still among the lowest in the world relatively, and one of the reasons the government urged tourists to come in a bid to get the economy going.

With partying going on among the young, especially on islands in private homes and villas as well as bars, and people ignoring mask requirements in supermarket before the measure was extended, the government is trying to find an answer.

The scientific panel that advised the government to bring the lockdown is reviewing the rising cases and the sources but hasn't come up with a solution yet, said 

Petsas also admitted that there is a problem with overcrowding in public transport due to limited service with scenes of people packed on buses, trams, trains and metro.