Greek health officials announced 269 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, marking Greece’s biggest 24-hour increase since the beginning of the pandemic in March.
The number broke the country’s previous record of 262 new cases on August 12.
Of the 269 new cases, 39 were detected at the point of entry, bringing the Greece’s total number of cases to 7472. Two deaths were also recorded which brought the national total to 232.
The latest spike comes four days after the government announced new measures including the cancellation of all religious services on the August 15 holiday and the forced midnight closure of bars and restaurants in most tourist regions nationwide.
The government in Athens also placed the Greek island of Poros in a mandatory lockdown following a sudden flare-up of infections of locals and tourists.
“The rising rate has me extremely concerned,” Manolis Dermitzakis, a Greek professor of medicine in the University of Geneva said in an interview with Voice of America. “We’ve seen cases triple in a short period of time in Greece.” And ultimately, he said, it all boils down to the fact that measures are not being fully adhered to by tourists and locals, alike.
Another doctor, Gkikas Magiorkinis, who advises the government on the Coronavirus pandemic, told the Guardian’s Helena Smith in an interview that Greece was “formally” in a second wave of the virus outbreak.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, Greece’s Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias said that the country was “at a better epidemiological level than many other countries,” adding that “things will go bad” if Greeks do not follow health measures.
Greece has seen at least 100 new cases each day since August 5. The two-week spike has alarmed officials and jeopardized the government’s track record during the first three months of the pandemic when a mandatory lockdown and strict restrictions minimized the spread of the virus.
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