Attica will remain under strict lockdown measures until March 8, Nikos Chardalias, Deputy Minister for Civil Protection announced on Friday.
The stringent anti-virus measures in Attica were meant to last until March 1, but the recent spike in coronavirus cases and intubations in the area, home to Greece’s capital city Athens, caused officials to extend the lockdown.
Dr. Vana Papaevangelou, a renowned epidemiologist and member of the special coronavirus committee, warned Friday that Attica’s ICUs have reached 88% capacity.
The lack of space in the region’s hospitals is particularly worrying to officials, who fear that any more pressure on the healthcare system could lead to overflowing hospitals.
Attica, along with Kalymnos, the Kordelio-Evosmos district of Thessaloniki, Evia, Achaea, and Arkadia are all considered “extremely high risk areas” in terms of viral transmission.
According to Papaevangelou, there are a total of 12,000 active cases of the coronavirus in Greece currently.
Intubations remain high; 1,790 coronavirus cases Friday
The number of coronavirus patients undergoing intubation, an intensive treatment in which a tube is placed in the throat to facilitate breathing, remains high in Greece.
As of Friday, 371 people are intubated in Greece’s hospitals, which is four more than those being treated on Thursday.
A total of 325 intubations were recorded in Greece last Friday, and just 293 the week before, indicating a worrying increase in patients with Covid-19 who require the invasive treatment in Greece.
Greece recorded a total of 1,790 cases of the virus on Friday, out of the total 50,334 coronavirus tests that were conducted across the country during the day.
The current figure represents six more than the 1,784 instances of the coronavirus that were diagnosed in Greece on Thursday, just one day before.
Total of 790 cases diagnosed in Attica; 150 in Thessaloniki
Of the 1,790 coronavirus cases recorded in Greece in the past 24 hours, 790 were located in Attica, home to the city of Athens.
Instances of the virus were particularly high in the city itself, where 212 cases of Covid-19 were identified.
In Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city, a total of 150 cases of Covid-19 were identified in the last 24 hours.
Tragically, 29 people with the coronavirus passed away in the country over the past 24-hour period, which is 10 fewer than those who died with the virus on Thursday.
New measures at Greece’s borders
Chardalias announced new measures regarding Greece’s borders during a press conference on Friday.
At the border crossings Evzonoi and Kakavia, which lie across the border from North Macedonia and Albania respectively, only 400 people will be allowed into the country.
The border crossings, which normally experience heavy traffic, will now only operate from 7 AM to 7 PM, and all those passing through the stations will have to take a rapid test for the coronavirus.
If anyone tests positive for the virus, they will be denied entry into the country. Additionally, all those entering the country through these specific checkpoints must enter a 14-day quarantine.
1,326 coronavirus patients have been discharged from Greece’s ICUs
Since the beginning of the pandemic, a total 188,201 cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in the country, including all those who have recovered from the virus.
Of the cases diagnosed in Greece in the past seven days, just 62 are associated with foreign travel and 2,462 have been linked to contact with a known case.
Of the 371 patients intubated currently, 84.9% are over the age of 70 or suffer from preexisting conditions.
Additionally, a total of 1,326 patients have been discharged from ICUs around the country since the beginning of the pandemic.
The 29 new deaths recorded on Friday bring the total number of fatalities in the country to 6,439, and 95.7% of those who have passed away with the virus were over the age of 70 or suffered from underlying health issues.