ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece’s top scientific adviser warned against complacency on Tuesday over risks lurking from the novel coronavirus after the country reported its highest single-day increase in infections in weeks.
Authorities reported 121 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday after a steady rise over the past 10 days. Tuesday’s tally was the highest since April 22, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 4,855 since the start of the outbreak in late February.
There have been 209 deaths recorded in total.
Greece introduced an early lockdown in mid-March which buffered the country from the devastating effects of the pandemic seen in many other European countries. But the recent increase in infections prompted authorities to introduce measures like mandatory face masks in closed spaces.
Professor Sotiris Tsiodras, who gave his first public briefing after a more than two-month hiatus, said there had been no pressure on the public health system, but cautioned that the situation could get out of hand without vigilance.
“There must be great vigilance to a possible increase. The situation could quickly get out of hand. It needs vigilance and attention by all,” he said.
There were outbreak clusters, he said, in a meat processing unit, and from two wedding parties.
A significant number of infections were without symptoms, he said, adding that there had been cases detected after Greece reopened its borders in June. But added that a surge between July 31 and Aug. 2 appeared to be domestic infections.
Over the past two months, he said, there was a ‘clear shift’ towards the virus affecting younger people. One reason may be that during the tourism season travellers, who are usually younger, are being tested, he said.
Crisis Management Minister Nikos Hardalias urged young people to implement the safety measures.
“Young people can resist anything they don’t like and the time has come, responsible as they have been all these months, to take the lead in this effort,” he said.
(Reporting By Michele Kambas; Editing by Tom Brown and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)