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Piraeus COVID-19 Center Set Up to Test Returning Vacationers

With the end of August holidays looming, teams of doctors and health professionals will operate a COVID-19 center in the port of Piraeus to test people returning from vacations in a bid to stem the spread of the Coronavirus.

The health center was to begin Aug. 18 and will conduct random molecular tests to travelers with suspicious symptoms such as fever or cough, with an emphasis on those returning from high risk destinations, said Kathimerini.

"Our teams will carry out as many tests as necessary in order to form a satisfactory picture and adapt our actions accordingly in the future,” said Gorges Patoulis, Attica’s Regional Governor.

More than 300 so-called PCR tests were conducted on Aug. 16 on people landing in Piraeus and the port of Rafina, all of which proved negative although cases are otherwise spiking around Greece.

That was blamed on people defying and ignoring health measures including wearing masks in public gathering places and keeping a safe social distance of at least 1.5 meters (4.92 feet) apart from each other.

In the capital of Athens, sanitation crews disinfected the main gathering spot of Syntagma Square across from the Parliament, including the marble steps and benches in a spot that has seen countless protests against austerity and for other causes over the years. 

Workers used special machines dispensing jets of boiling water, far above the 56 degrees Celsius (132.8 degrees Fahrenheit) needed to kill the Coronavirus to clean trash bins, sidewalks and other surfaces. The drive has focused on squares and pedestrianized areas as well as hospital, pharmacy and supermarket entrances, with streets having far fewer people during the still ongoing holidays.

“We are intensifying our disinfection operations across the whole city from now, before it returns to its autumn pace,” Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis said, adding that the aim was “for Athens’ public places to be safe for all,” reported the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency (ANA-MPA.)

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