THESSALONIKI — The soaring number of COVID-19 cases in northern Greece around the country's second-largest city and major port of Thessaloniki has authorities on alert but the New Democracy government isn't planning more health protocols there.
That's despite the jumping figures, with no plans to close bars or restaurants earlier even though they are major gathering spots where the virus can spread, government spokesman Stelios Petsas saying no more measures are coming.
That news came after another 715 cases of the Coronavirus were reported Oct. 26, along with seven deaths, bringing the total numbers to 31,496 infections and 581 fatalities, both rising fast since August.
Some 95 more people were put on ventilators in hospital Intensive Care Units (ICU's) with beds running out even though the capacity had been more than doubled during the seven-month pandemic, with help from the Diaspora.
Of the new infections, 260 were recorded in Attica, the prefecture including Greece's capital of Athens, with 84 in Thessaloniki and double-digit figures in several other northern cities, including Ioannina with 52 and Serres with 31.
In Serres, national health agency EODY workers confirmed 13 coronavirus infections in a nursing home, the fourth hit with a cluster.
The patients are seven elderly residents who were asymptomatic but nevertheless transferred to Thessaloniki’s AHEPA Hospital, as well as six staff members as the government is trying to contain the spread of the virus.
Petsas said authorities were particularly concerned about the situation in Thessaloniki, Ioannina and Serres, which Central Macedonia Governor Apostolos Tzitzikostas described as “one step away” from lockdown, said Kathimerini.
Petsas said authorities would take all necessary action to avoid the virus spreading across the country from the worst-hit regions but didn't explain the contradiction of not taking action in northern Greece.
He said plans for additional restrictions – beyond the nighttime curfews and mandatory face mask regulations that came into effect on Oct. 24 are not I play after he said all necessary actions would be taken but weren't.