Greece announced a stricter lockdown for areas with an increased number of Covid cases, including Attica, where Athens is located, on Friday.
The new lockdown measures will apply to places considered “red zones,” where transmission of the coronavirus is high compared to the rest of the country, and will be in effect starting 6:00 AM on Saturday, January 30.
Greece will designate many regions of the country as “red” zones Saturday morning, when the measures will be in effect.
These “red” areas of the country will include Attica, Evia, Boeotia, Rodopi, Lakonia, Magnisia, Santorini, Mykonos, Chalkidiki, Zakynthos, and areas of Achaia.
Lockdown: retail stores, high schools impacted in “red” zones
High schools, originally slated to open around the country on February 1, will remain closed in red zones, but will open elsewhere.
Middle schools, however, will open across the country, even in “red” areas.
Retail stores, which just recently opened for business in Greece, will face new restrictions in areas with increased Covid cases.
Shopping in stores that sell clothes, shoes, and jewelry will now require an appointment, and all other retail stores will operate on a curbside pick up basis, called “click away.”
For curbside pick up, customers will have to do their shopping online or over the phone, and then arrange a date and time to pick up the item from the store.
Under the new measures, hair and nail salons will remain open, even in red areas, however.
In Athens, the 9:00 PM to 5:00 AM curfew remains in effect. In the other red zones, however, the curfew has been changed to 6:00 PM until 5:00 AM.
Virus surges in Attica; Total of 941 Covid cases recorded in Greece Friday
The news measures after cases of the coronavirus surged by at least 45% in the last week in Attica, home to Athens, the country’s capital and most populous city.
Officials are alarmed at the number of cases recorded in the region in the past 72 hours. On Friday, 526 of the country’s total 941 Covid cases were diagnosed in Attica.
Of this figure, 130 cases of the coronavirus were diagnosed in the center of Athens. In the city’s western and northern suburbs, 78 and 83 cases were diagnosed respectively on Friday.
Speaking to Open TV on Friday, Dr. Nikos Sipsas, epidemiologist and member of Greece’s coronavirus committee, stated that ICUs in Attica were reaching 60% capacity, and hospital admissions were on the rise.
In Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, a total of 58 cases were identified in the last 24 hours.
Tragically, 22 people with the virus passed away in the country over the past 24-hour period, which is four more than those recorded yesterday.
Currently, 260 patients with Covid-19 are now intubated in Greece, eight fewer than those who were intubated in the country on Thursday.
Total of 1,099 Covid-19 patients discharged from Greece’s ICUs
In total, 155,678 cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in the country since the beginning of the pandemic, including all those who have recovered from the virus.
Of this total, 5,927 are associated with foreign travel, and 48,600 are associated with contact with a known case.
Of the 260 patients intubated currently, 85.8% are over the age of 70 or suffer from preexisting conditions. Their median age is 68, and 193 of the patients are male.
Additionally, a total of 1,099 patients have been discharged from ICUs around the country since the beginning of the pandemic.
The 22 new deaths recorded on Friday bring the total number of fatalities in the country to 5,764. Of all those who lost their lives after suffering from the virus, a total of 3,388 have been male.
The median age of those who passed away with Covid-19 is 79, and 95.5% of them were over the age of 70 or suffered from underlying health issues.
Questions of coming third wave
While recorded cases have been low in Greece compared to November, experts fear that, if transmission of the virus continues to rise, the country could face a third wave of the pandemic.
Additionally, some believe that the true number of coronavirus cases in Greece could be higher than the figures that have been reported.
During a story on the television news station Skai, Nikos Tzanakis, a professor of Pulmonology and the Vice President of the Greek Pulmonary Society, estimated that the actual number of active cases in the country is really between 30,000 and 50,000.