Coronavirus Outbreak in Greece: “Patient Zero’s” Movements Under the Microscope

Greek authorities are desperately trying to trace the recent movements of the 38-year-old woman who was diagnosed with the coronavirus on Wednesday, the first case of the infection in the country.

It has emerged that the woman is a fashion entrepreneur based in Thessaloniki, where she is currently hospitalized. She recently took a trip to Italy, where the outbreak has caused at least twelve deaths so far.

The woman, who is also a mother, is being treated at AHEPA Hospital in Thessaloniki, where she is receiving antiviral treatment. She is otherwise in good health and is being monitored by a team of specialists.

However, authorities are concerned regarding her whereabouts after returning from Italy.

Although she has not been named officially, unnamed health sources quoted by Proto Thema say that she is an elected official on a Thessaloniki city council, and that she has participated in at least one meeting on Monday since she returned from Italy which involved dozens of people.

Those present at the meeting have been duly informed, and Thessaloniki’s City Hall, and especially its meeting room, are now characterized as “high risk areas,” according to its news website.

According to Mega TV, the woman returned to Thessaloniki on Sunday on a Ryanair flight from a fashion exhibition that took place in Milan. Passengers on the flight, along with people who have been in contact with the woman in recent days, have been asked to remain in a self-imposed quarantine.

Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias said that “the airplane cabin crew and the patient’s fellow travellers are being tracked down.”

“There is absolutely no cause for panic,” he stressed, “on the contrary, proper information, organization and collaboration will help us all collective have better results,” he added.

He also warned the public to listen for advice only to specialists such as doctors and medical professors “who know best of all what it’s all about.” Kikilias said “this virus resembles the influenza virus” and said that “most cases will not present clinical symptoms.”

Infectious disease experts had warned that the possibility of an outbreak in the country  was high due to its geographical proximity and many commercial ties to Italy, where more than 300 cases and twelve deaths have been recorded thus far.

The virus has infected more than 81,000 people worldwide, and killed 2,762, with the vast majority of those cases in mainland China, and Hubei province in particular.