Head of Greek Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias said on Tuesday, that the epidemiological data on some islands do not justify England’s decision to put them on quarantine list and place arrivals on quarantine. Specifically, he spoke about the islands of Tinos, Serifos and Zakynthos.
Speaking at the live briefing on Tuesday evening, Hardalias said on Tinos and Serifos that they do not have epidemiological data related to these two islands to put authorities on alert. He added that he does not know what led to the specific measures taken by England for these islands.
“Our epidemiological data, regarding either the local population or the holidaymakers do not confirm the British [authorities]. There is no such indication,” he stressed.
“We do not have any epidemiological picture for such an indication and if there was one would have taken measures,” he added.
Note that neither Serifos not Tinos have airports and therefore no charter or other services directly to UK.
Justifying Greece’s decision to have restaurants, bars, clubs and cafes close at midnight in several regions, Hardalias said that such a measure “saves lives!” – even if tourists are crowding afterwards.
He noted, however, that the measures taken by the Netherlands and Britain aimed to protect their own populations.
Bringing the island of Zakynthos as an example, where tourists are crowding after midnight, he stressed that the gathering of people after midnight confirms the government’s choice to close restaurants, bars and clubs.
“If we had not imposed such a measure, this whole situation under the influence of alcohol would spread the coronavirus to the local population” Hardalias said.
He argued that the measure limits the spread of the virus as it remains within the clusters that are identified and prevent the spread of the virus in the wider population.
“Epidemiologically, it is preferable that members of one group crowd with each other than to crowd with other groups, other guests and employees and in one area of the sector,” said Professor of Epidemiology of the Medical School of Athens and a representative of the Ministry of Health. Gkikas Majorkinis.
“These clusters can act as multipliers of the virus in the general population. Our goal is and was to reduce as much as possible the contacts and the crowding between customers and employees. We have in mind that specific groups of guests, either with specific age characteristics or based on nationality, were crowding and are crowding in different parts of the country after the closing of the entertainment and dining areas. We want to limit the clusters’ contacts with others and to not allow uncontrolled transmission of the coronavirus. And this seems to have been achieved,” Hardalias said.
He added that tests carried out on Zakynthos have shown low number of infection cases.
He added that this strategy to close facilities at midnight has been adopted in other countries too, that it saves lives and it is one of the “most important decisions.”
Note that the Netherlands has placed all Greek islands on “orange” travel list on Tuesday.