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“Tourism not to blame for infections increase,” says Greek Civil Protection

Tourism is not to blame for the resurgence of the pandemic in Greece, 83% of the cases are domestic, head of the Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias said on Tuesday during the weekly live briefing on the course of the coronavirus. Together with deputy Health Minister Vassilis Kontozamanis, dismissed reports that authorities “hide” the number of real infections. They said that they do not publish infections data on specific tourist destinations in order to avoid “targeting” and “discrimination.”

“Is tourism responsible for the infections increase? The answer is categorically No!,” Hardalias said, adding that in 319,000 tests carried out among tourists, 615 were positive.

It should be noted that following the resurgence in August with over 2,600 infections, many Greeks on social media sharply criticized the government for opening the country to tourism without a mandatory Covid-19 test.

“83% of the infections are domestic,” he stressed and blamed the not observance of protection measures as well as crowding for the recent increase of cases.

On epidemiological level, “Greece is not doing worse than other countries. We have the opening of tourism without a significant burden on the health system,” he underlined.

Regarding the complaints by local authorities on the islands of Paros and Antiparos for the imposed restrictions without publishing the number of cases, Hardalias said that “there is no discrimination against certain areas, it is the health of residents and visitors taken into account.”

It appears that the government imposed the restrictive measures on these two islands after several of the recently confirmed cases had said that they have returned from these two islands.

“There are those tested positive in the area of their permanent residence, but the tracking leads to areas where they were before during their vacations, for example,” Hardalias said.

Both Hardalias and Kontozamanis dismissed claims by the union on public hospital doctors OENGE that health authorities do not publish the real numbers of cases every day.

“The reports are false,” Kontozamanis said adding that “nowadays 12,000 tests are being carried out on daily basis.”

The deputy health minister described as “speculation” epidemiologists’ estimations that the real number of infected in the country is 8-10 times more than the recorded cases.

“The most indisputable indicator are the admissions to the ICUs but also the number of deaths, which today stands at 230,” he stressed.

The real numbers are recorded and announced every afternoon by National Health Care Organization EODY, he noted and asked “Can you imagine what confusion would be created if every hospital, or every institution or every municipality recorded the cases?”

“All positive tests are referred to authorities, no laboratory can risk losing its license or face felony charges,” Hardalias added saying that the Civil Protection has the full picture about what’s going on in the country regarding the infections..

Kontozamanis said that the health structures have been strengthened with personnel, with over 6,000 health workers recruited since March, among them over than 1,000 doctors of various specialties. he announced that early September 400 new positions, half of which will be for ICUs. 1,650 professional nurses and 600 public health nurses will be recruited.

He stated that regarding the ICUs, 557 intensive care beds were in July 2019 and a year later “we are at 901 operational ICU beds, 186 of them are for Covid-19 treatment.” He announced that the number of ICUs will reach 1,200.

The head of Civil Protection said also that “we are far from imposing local lockdown.” He stressed that in urban centers [like Attica, Thessaloniki] there cannot be restrictions on municipal level.

Attica and Thessaloniki have been topping the list of new cases on a daily basis since beginning of August. Health authorities have been blaming mostly the young Greeks who return from their summer vacations to the Cyclades islands and Halkidiki respectively.

sources: live briefing, amna, cnngreece, and others

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  1. I’m so sick of hearing that tourism isn’t responsible. Most coronavirus cases are asymptomatic. Only 13% of tourists entering via flights were tested. Therefore, asymptomatic individuals could have easily spread the virus without knowing they were infected.

    Also, they tested people and let them travel throughout the country before they returned a negative test. Those individuals who went on to test positive had eaten at restaurants, traveled on ferries, etc…

    Where did all these new cases come from if not from tourism? Out of thin air? What a joke.

  2. So tourism is not to blame but somehow we barely had any cases, then opened borders and BAM, way more cases that we had when we were all sitting at home. Sure sure makes sense.

    All they had to do was keep the borders shut and we’d be living worry free right now. Sure would suck for those who live off of tourists but supporting them with some magic money would probably be way cheaper in long term than dealing with what’s to come. And cause less corpses too

  3. High Yield Consultant

    The verifiable statistics show that infections primarily come from community transfer … not tourists.

    Wash your hands, use hand sanitizer as necessary, practice social distancing, and wear a mask in a confined space … this isn’t difficult. Good Health to All!

  4. They show no such thing. They show that the virus was of unknown provenance — basically, tourists who were not tested. And facemasks are a waste of time: this is a political trick to pretend that the problem is not from tourism and is caused by Greeks.

  5. Wir haben von März bis zur Ausreise im Juli unter Quarantänebedingungen am Strand eine tolle Zeit verbracht und rigoros die Vorschriften beachtet…!
    Leider können wir das von den jungen, einheimischen Leuten nicht behaupten, die häufige Parties am Strand feierten.

    Aber auch die älteren Herren saßen von Anfang an in Gruppen beisammen und führten angeregte Diskussionen, ohne Masken und Abstand!

    Wir wünschen den gastfreundlichen Griechen alles Gute für die kommende Zeit und freuen uns auf erneute Besuche in diesem schönen Land…!

    • High Yield Consultant

      Torsten –

      Wenn jeder nur die Vorschriften befolgen würde, würde Covid-19 nicht mehr zunehmen … wie Sie veranschaulichen. Touristen können die Vorschriften oft besser befolgen als die Menschen vor Ort.

  6. High Yield Consultant

    edmond about … “Facemasks are a waste of time” … Let me guess … edmond about means you are about science fiction writing! … 🙂 …