Greece announced on Saturday an investigation into websites and social media users suspected of disseminating COVID-19 misinformation that could be deemed to pose a risk to public health.
Instructions on the probe were sent by Citizens’ Protection Minister Panagiotis Theodorikakos to the head of the police’s Department for Electronic Crime, Vassilis Papakostas, with a directive to forward suspected individuals and groups to a prosecutor.
“We need to investigate who is hiding behind these pages,” Minister Theodorikakos told Antenna TV.
Theorodirakos mentioned a specific scam claiming to offer legal advice and protection to anyone who does not want to comply with the protection measures against the pandemic.
“The country needs to move forward, safely, with unity and we will not allow various groups led by irresponsibility, backwardness and irrationality or any kind of selfishness to create unrest in society,” Theodorikakos stressed.
Misinformation on Covid-19
Misinformation on the virus, and promotion of antivaccine sentiment and disobedience to public health measures, are reportedly among the online activities targeted by authorities.
The announcement comes at a time when protests are ongoing in Greece against the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers, with those unwilling to have the shot having been temporarily stood down.
The scammers reportedly urge pandemic- and vaccination-deniers to submit documents claiming that they do not recognize the state authority and other nonsense, with a fee starting at 20 euros.
Anti-vaxxer father given suspended sentence
The 37-year old anti-vaxxer father in a Thessaloniki suburb who assaulted his son’s female school principal, was fined 300 euros for not wearing a mask and received a 15-day suspended prison sentence. He had also claimed to have filed a suit against the principal, demanding 2.7 million euros compensation.
Ioannis Sarigiannidis, who is a Covid denier, reportedly pushed the female principal hard and prevented the other children from entering the schoolyard after she asked for the child’s rapid test results, as Greek law requires.
The principal immediately called the police, who arrested Sarigiannis. The prosecutor charged him with disruption of a public service and insulting, and he was then allowed to return home.
Sarigiannidis said that he will be suing the school principal in the amount of 2.7 million euros, based on the existing contract between the school and the pupils’ parents, which doesn’t include mandatory vaccinations. He added that these charges will be pressed “as is fitting for the illegal and outright criminal actions undertaken by teachers and the Health Ministry.”
Number of Covid-19 intubated patients on the rise
Meanwhile Greek health authorities on Sunday announced that the number of Covid-19 intubated patients rose slightly in the last 24 hours.
They announced 1,100 new cases of the coronavirus for the 24-hour period ending 3 PM Sunday, as well as 24 deaths associated with the virus.
The number of patients on ventilators was 337 early Sunday afternoon, up from 333 a day earlier, but down from 348 last Sunday.
The Attica region had the largest number of new cases, with 191, followed by Thessaloniki, with 149.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 645,969 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 14,679 fatalities.