ATHENS – The end of a lockdown aimed at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus that held down the number of cases and fatalities is showing a resurgence in Greece as people pent up for months have gone out in force without keeping social distance requirements and shunning the use of gloves and masks.
Coupled with domestic tourism and arrivals from nearby countries in driving distance until air traffic begins from selected countries on June 15, and then fully on July 1, the combination led to 97 more cases since June 1, including 52 alone on June 8.
Some 30 involve tourists, authorities said, as the number of cases hit 3,049, the reversal leading to the resumption of a daily TV briefing with announcements on required measures, most of which are being widely ignored.
“We need to be on alert, we need to be vigilant and we need to understand that the issue of the virus’ evolution has everything to with each of us individually,” Deputy Minister for Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias told the state-run Athens-Macedonian News Agency.
“The virus is on the wane, but this does not mean that it has gone away,” he warned, as Greeks flocked to beaches and holiday destinations for the three-day Holy Spirit weekend, the areas overrun with people.
One bar on Mykonos that was overwhelmed with hundreds of people in direct violation of COVID-19 health protocols was closed for two months and the owner fined 20,000 euros ($22,515.)
The daily briefings that were avidly followed were briefly replaced by a weekly bulletin at the start of the month as the number of cases was falling but Hardalias said there's a need for vigilance.
“If every citizen abides by the safety precautions, it will be much easier to prevent clusters and viral loads,” he said.