Greek authorities are on high alert on Wednesday following the first case of coronavirus in the country and the alarming outbreak in Italy, where as of Wednesday morning more than 300 cases and eleven deaths have been recorded.
The virus has infected more than 81,000 people, and killed 2,762, the vast majority of cases in mainland China and Hubei province in particular.
Tuesday’s live updates
21:05: France confirms its 18th positive to Coronavirus case.
21:00: Thessaloniki City Hall is being disinfected by a special task force. The woman who tested positive had visited the building on Monday.
20:55: Thessaloniki’s 105th Primary School will remain closed on Thursday for precautionary measures.
19:15: The Greek government issued a video informing the public about the Coronavirus.
19:10: Pakistan confirms the country’s first case of coronavirus.
19:05: A 60-year-old becomes the second fatality in France from the Coronavirus.
19:00: Russia advises its citizens against travelling to Italy.
— Government of Russia (@GovernmentRF) February 26, 2020
18:35: North Macedonia reports its first Coronavirus case. The woman had recently returned from Italy.
18:30: Italy’s ANSA news agency reported that tourist cancellations in Rome reached 90% for March.
17:40: Greek Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias ordered the suspension and revocation of holidays of all members of staff of Greece’s hospitals and other public health-related agencies.
16:30: Main developments so far
- Greece records its first case of coronavirus in Thessaloniki. A 38-year-old woman who recently traveled to Italy is undergoing treatment.
- A twelfth person has died in northern Italy, while the number of confirmed cases there has risen to 374, an increase of more than 50 from the day before.
- The World Health Organization expert who led a delegation to Wuhan has warned that countries outside China are “simply not ready” for a pandemic.
15:25: Facebook is banning ads that promise to cure coronavirus or incite panic around the outbreak. According to the Press Association, this includes ads with claims saying that face masks are 100% guaranteed to prevent the spread of the virus.
15:05: Groups of Greek schoolchildren who had been traveling in Italy at the time of the outbreak, continued to be brought back to Greece on Wednesday.
14:46: There is a government plan for any possible scenario concerning the coronavirus, Greece’s Interior Minister Takis Theodorikakos said in an interview with OPEN on Wednesday, noting that state mechanisms are ready to deal with any situation.
14:45: Greek Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias convened a meeting at the Health Ministry on Wednesday afternoon, after the first coronavirus case in Greece was confirmed in Thessaloniki. He is now on his way to Thessaloniki to chair a meeting with officials there in order to review the situation.
14:20: Greek bonds were under pressure on Wednesday, with the yield of the 10-year bond rising sharply to exceed 1.167 percent, up from 1.08 percent on Tuesday. Developments in the Greek market are following a similar trend spreading across Southern Europe, amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus in other EU countries.
13:40: A government directive in Italy calls on all public service bodies to look at alternative ways to continue working, recommending procedures that would allow employees to work from home until the coronavirus outbreak is contained.
13:35: A twelfth person has died in northern Italy of coronavirus, while the number of confirmed cases has risen to 374, an increase of more than 50 on the day before, the head of the Civil Protection agency said on Wednesday.
13:25: Greek authorities on Wednesday have confirmed the first case of coronavirus in the country. A 38-year-old woman carrying the virus is now hospitalized in Thessaloniki. She had recently traveled to Italy.
12:30: Pharmacies in the northern port city of Thessaloniki have been running out of face masks, Anna Sidiropoulou, the vice president of Thessaloniki Pharmacists Association, told the Athens Macedonia News Agency. She said that shortages were the result of “unjustified panic” among the public.
12:20: Surgical masks are in very short supply in Greece. Apostolos Baltas, President of the Panhellenic Pharmaceutical Association, says that “masks are not a panacea.” Most people do not know how to use them and the panic to buy surgical masks can exclude people who need them the most, including not only hospital workers, but also some patient groups, he tells Greek daily Efimerida ton Syntakton.
12:05: The Athens Stock Exchange has dropped to 800 points on Wednesday, a drop of 3.6 percent, following the downward trend in world markets. The FTSE 100 index of the biggest companies listed in London hit a new one-year low at the start of trading.
11:45: Spain has reported another case of coronavirus – the second in the Madrid area – bringing the total number of cases there to eight. A hotel in the Austrian city of Innsbruck continues to be under lockdown after its Italian receptionist tested positive.
11:20: South Korea has reported a further 115 infections on Wednesday afternoon, on top of the 169 new cases reported on Wednesday morning. The country’s total tally of Covid-19 patients is now 1,261, according to Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
11:05: The spread of coronavirus in Europe is not discouraging Greeks, however, who are ready to participate in the Carnival season, or “Apokries.” Cities and towns throughout the country are ready for the colorful festivities which culminate on the weekend before “Kathara Deftera,” or Clean Monday, the first day of Great Lent, which falls on March the 2nd this year.
10:50: Authorities in Germany said on Wednesday that a man who contracted COVID-19 is in critical condition and has been taken to a specialist hospital in Duesseldorf.
10:15: Greek Health authorities are expected on Wednesday to release the medical tests of a suspected coronavirus victim who is hospitalized at Athens’ Attikon Hospital. The blood sample of a man who had recently returned from Italy with symptoms of influenza has come back negative for coronavirus, authorities announced on Tuesday.
09:30: The World Health Organization expert who led a delegation to Wuhan, China, has warned that countries outside China are “simply not ready” for a pandemic.
09:15: The European nations of Switzerland, Austria, Croatia and Spain recorded their first cases of coronavirus on Tuesday.