ATHENS – Screening travelers for Covid-19 is not recommended, said the Health Ministry's coronavirus spokesman Sotiris Tsiodras on Thursday evening, "as it can give rise to a false sense of certainty."
The infectious diseases professor was responding to a question by Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA) on the likelihood that tourism may cause another mass dispersal of the virus, and the effectiveness of diagnostic tests on travelers; on the latter, he said it is "at any country's discretion to test travelers if they so wish, for epidemiological or any other reason."
Tsiodras said it was particularly important to "check the traveler who arrives in Greece with (Covid-19) symptoms." Once such a person is tested, "it will be easy to do contact tracing for Greek contacts," but unclear how that would continue once that person returned to their country. Ideally, he said, somebody with symptoms could use a digital way to check in at the closest laboratory for testing. Greece is able to provide contact tracing, once that person knows where to go.
Reiterating the significance of reports on disease spread, several reports globally cited overcrowding as a key factor, where the virus is transmitted by airborne droplets from the nose and mouth when people chat, cough or sneeze. Studies have shown that 80 pct of new infections resulted from a 10 pct of those infected in crowd conditions, while other studies cited much lower percentages of source infections and higher spread.
The professor also announced another 3 new coronavirus cases and 2 new deaths were officially recorded in Greece in the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry's coronavirus spokesman Sotiris Tsiodras reported on Tuesday evening, bringing the total of infections since the start of the outbreak in the country to 2,853.
So far, of the total infections, 612 are traced to travel abroad and 1,436 to known cases in Greece.
Twenty-one hospitalized Greeks are intubated. Their average age is 72 years old and 8 of them are women. The overwhelming majority (95.2 pct) have an underlying illness or are over 70 years of age. Another 98 have been discharged from ICUs since the start of the outbreak.
Fatalities since the beginning of the outbreak stand at 168, with 49 of them being women. The average age of the deceased was 76 years and 94 pct had some underlying illness and/or were 70 years of age or more.
A total of 144,078 diagnostic tests for Covid-19 have so far been carried out in Greece.