During an announcement to the public on Friday, Deputy Minister of Civil Protection Nikos Chardalias and Alternative Minister of Health Vassilis Kontozamanis laid out the plan for the distribution of free coronavirus self-tests to the Greek population.
The self-test kits will be available in Greek pharmacies to all Greeks — free of charge –starting in early April.
Each citizen will be given one test per week for a two-month period, and an online platform will soon open, on which those who have taken the test can view their results.
If a self-test returns a positive result, a second test will be conducted at a certified health facility to confirm the result.
Weekly self-test to be mandatory for schools, retail, tourism, service industry
Officials hope that the self-tests will be a useful tool and measuring the number of asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus in the country.
Kontozamanis stressed that, as the country will begin to reopen slowly, those working in sectors that will be open first — such as the service industry, businesses, tourism, retail stores, and the courts — will be required to conduct self-tests for the virus each week.
Weekly self-testing of teachers and students will also be mandatory when schools reopen.
Estimated 23,500 active Covid-19 cases in the country
Dr. Vana Papaevangelou, Professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and a member of the special coronavirus committee, sent an encouraging message to Greeks, as she highlighted that the positivity rate in the country is beginning to stabilize.
Last week, the positivity rate in Greece hovered around 6%. Today, the rate was 12.96%.
Papaevangelou noted that there are an estimated 23,500 active coronavirus cases across the country, and Greeks should remain vigilant in preventing the spread of the virus.
She recommended that all citizens wear two masks in order to remain protected against Covid-19.
Record 707 coronavirus patients on ventilators in Greece
A record number of patients with Covid-19 in Greece are on ventilators on Friday.
The total number of people undergoing the treatment has reached 707, breaking the previous record of 706, which was recorded just yesterday, on Thursday.
Greece identified a total of 1,496 Covid-19 cases in the country on Friday, 1,092 fewer than the 2,588 cases diagnosed in Greece on Thursday.
A total of 11,542 coronavirus tests, significantly lower than usual, were conducted across the country during the day, bringing the positivity rate to 12.96% in Greece, up from 4.89% on Thursday.
Tragically, 53 people with the coronavirus passed away in the country over the past 24-hour period, which is one more than those who died with the virus on Thursday.
637 cases of Covid-19 diagnosed Attica alone; 167 in Thessaloniki
Of the 1,496 coronavirus cases recorded in Greece in the past 24 hours, 637 were located in Attica, home to the Greek capital city of Athens.
Instances of the virus were particularly high in the center of the city itself, where 157 cases of Covid-19 were identified Friday.
Piraeus, Athens’ port city, had a total of 117 instances of the virus on Friday.
Tests showed that in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city, a total of 167 cases of Covid-19 had been diagnosed in the last 24 hours.
Total 249,458 coronavirus cases in Greece since the start of the pandemic
Since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 249,458 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 67 are associated with foreign travel and 2,570 have been linked to contact with a known case.
Of the 707 patients intubated currently, 82.5% are over the age of 70 or suffer from preexisting conditions. Their average age is 68.
On Friday alone, 448 people with the coronavirus were admitted to hospitals in Greece.
Additionally, a total of 1,648 patients have been discharged from ICUs around the country since the beginning of the pandemic.
The 53 new deaths recorded on Friday bring the total number of fatalities in the country to 7,754, and 95.7% of those who have passed away with the virus were over the age of 70 or suffered from underlying health issues.