As the coronavirus death toll in Italy has reached 4,032, surpassing China’s figures by far, Greece is holding its breath as it counts 13 with a crucial weekend ahead, as authorities fear that the wave of Athenians leaving for the provinces would further spread the virus.
Four elderly people died from Covid-19 in Greece on Friday, while three more succumbed to the virus on Saturday, raising the number of fatalities to 13.
In his daily briefing, almost teary-eyed Infectious Disease specialist and Health Ministry spokesman Sotiris Tsiodras announced 35 new confirmed cases, raising the total number to 530.
Of these 98 are of undetermined origin, with most cases being in Athens. A total 100 of the patients are hospitalized and 18 are intubated and as Tsiodras pointed out, “Many are expected to be intubated as well. It is a serious disease, a serious pneumonia.”
Nineteen patients have been discharged. The majority of those hospitalized have severe underlying diseases, 54 percent are men, and 47 percent are over 65 years of age.
The total number of deaths across the globe has reached 11,399 and there are 275,434 confirmed cases.
However, the low number of cases compared to Italy has made many Greeks complacent and some disobedient to the measures the government has put into effect.
Currently, thousands leave the two major metropolitan areas of Athens and Thessaloniki heading for the provinces.
Government spokesperson Stelios Petsas announced on Saturday morning:
“The choice of our fellow citizens to move to the provinces, especially after our recommendations not to do so, is anti-social behavior.
It endangers both themselves, as they are in remote places where they will not have the same access to health care if they are ill, as well as our fellow citizens living in those places.
We all need to understand that we may be infected with the virus even if we don’t have any symptoms.
And meanwhile, we are spreading the virus to communities all over Greece.”
The government spokesman also said that if Greeks continue to disregard the preventive measures, a total lockdown might be enforced such as in Italy and Spain.
On Friday, the Greek government banned sailing of all yachts from Attica in an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus to islands and seaside areas.
On Saturday, the ministry of education announced that schools might open after Easter (April 19), while previously the closure was intended until April 10.
On Saturday, it was also announced that open food and vegetable markets will be closed until further notice.