Tsiodras Cautions Greeks to Continue Measures as Authorities Announce 121 New Coronavirus Cases



Dr. Sotiris Tsiodras, the medical professor and epidemiologist in charge of Greece’s fight against the coronavirus. File photo

Dr. Sotiris Tsiodras, the epidemiologist who is in charge of Greece’s heretofore successful managing of the coronavirus pandemic, had some words of warning on Tuesday at a press conference that was called to highlight the increasing numbers of the virus being detected in the country.

The professor of infectious diseases at the Ministry of Health, whose presence on television had become a nightly ritual for all Greeks during the lockdown, stated bluntly in his first press conference since May 26, “We are facing the most urgent situation of the last 100 years, globally.”

Noting that the number of active outbreaks in the country is increasing, reaching 121 today, the eminent physician remarked “There are several reasons for this, such as increased controls and increased mobility of citizens, something that is also recorded abroad.”

Tsiodras also decried “the increased contagion, where the precautionary measures are not observed,” referring to the cases that were recorded after weddings and in other places where people had gathered for celebrations.

He encouraged the wearing of facemarks in public, even in areas outdoors where large amounts of people have congregated.

According to the doctor, however, it is only natural that there has been an increase in cases observed in incoming travelers.

After stating that the Greek health system is currently not under great stress due to the rising number of cases, he still cautioned residents and travelers to Greece to not let up on the measures necessary to contain the contagion.

Tsiodras also stated that there are more and more cases in younger people, adding that it must be stressed that no one is immune from contracting the coronavirus. Both the number of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic cases have increased.

The eminent professor added that, perhaps most worryingly, the number of active outbreaks in the country is increasing.

The epidemiologist also stated that the nation of Iran has seen a huge spike in coronavirus diagnoses, amounting to 2,751 cases in the last 24 hours.

Also on Tuesday afternoon, the Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned that there is “no silver bullet at the moment, and there may never be” to combat Covid-19. For now, he said, stopping the virus must comprise all the measures currently in our arsenal, including social distancing, tasing and contact tracing.

There are currently 18 million people around the globe infected with the virus according to Reuters, but the death rate is still hovering below 1%.

The quickly-scheduled Tuesday news conference officiated by Tsiodras and Deputy Minister of Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias pushed Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ own press conference to Wednesday, during which he will also speak with these officials.

According to Greek media reports, PM Mitsotakis will hold a teleconference on the coronavirus with Minister of Health Vassilis Kikilias, as well as Tsiodras and Hardalias.

Greece’s Heath Authority, the EODY, also announced  on Tuesday afternoon that there were no new deaths to report over the last 24 hours.

Only five of the 121 cases were diagnosed at the country’s borders and other entry points.  The total number of those individuals reported to carry the coronavirus, including all those who have recovered, is now 4,855.

A total of 1,325 (27.3%) of all cases are considered related to travel from abroad and 2,403 (49.5%) are related to an already known case.

Currently, thirteen patients, with a median age of 70 years, are being treated by intubation in ICUs across the country.  Just under a quarter, or 23.1%, are women and the rest are men. Fully 69.2% of these people have an underlying disease or are aged 70 and over.

One hundred twenty-nine patients have been discharged from ICUs across Greece since the beginning of the pandemic. The total number of all those who have died with the virus in Greece has now reached 209.

Of this total, 67, or 32.1%, were women and the rest were men. The median age of our fellow citizens who succumbed with the virus was 76 years and 95.7% had an underlying disease and/or were age 70 years and over.

The geographical distribution of the newly-detected cases is as follows, according to the RES-EIA: Along with the five cases detected during the checks carried out at the country’s entrance gates there were another seven imported cases picked up by voluntary testing.

Currently, there are 26 cases in the Attica region, and 47 cases in Greece’s second city of Thessaloniki. There are currently eight cases in Halkidiki — but five of these are of known origin, related to a baptism.

Larissa reports a total of eight cases in Larissa, with seven cases in Corfu, two cases in Imathia and Serres, and one case each in Arcadia, Achaia, Kavala, Drama, Evros, Evia, Kozani, Pella, and Chios.