Hardalias: A Massive Effort for Contact Tracing of Any COVID-19 Outbreaks

April 24, 2020

ATHENS – Restriction measures for the coronavirus pandemic are in full effect until May 4, Civil Protection Minister for Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias said on Friday, reminding the public that the long weekend of May 1, a holiday, must not allow a relaxation of vigilance.

Hardalias also reminded Greek Muslims that with Ramadan under way they needed to observe the restrictions introduced for all faiths practised in Greece that ban open worship and that require holding services behind closed doors. “Our deal fellow nationals who are Muslim will pray from their homes, and temples will be shut to the public,” he reiterated.

He then referred to the coronavirus outbreak in the clinic in Peristeri, the western suburb of Athens, which specializes in kidney disease. Three deaths have been reported and are being investigated, while a total of 34 people were found infected with the virus (17 of them staff members). Of these, 121 contact traces were made and those individuals asked to go into self-isolation at home for 14 days. The same was requested of 39 doctors collaborating with the clinic.

“No clinic has been ‘sealed’,” Hardalias said, “but we went to the clinic from the very beginning, to ensure that patients there could continue their dialysis every second day in safety.” Those patients who tested positive to the virus were transferred to the Attikon and NIMTS hospitals, which specialize in coronavirus cases.

Speaking of a private clinic in the southern suburb of Elliniko, where a single outbreak was registered, the minister said that contact tracing continued but all the samples of residents and staff there were negative to the virus.

Hardalias also underlined what he described as “the massive effort to trace dozens of contacts”, and said there were 16 staff members “working through the night” this week checking high and low-risk contacts.

“We try not to leave anything to chance,” he said, to prevent tragic results.


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