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Greece records five Covid-19 deaths in 24 hours as cases continue to surge

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New concerns by Greek health authorities were made on Thursday after the National Organisation of Public Health (EODY) announced five fatalities related to the coronavirus in the past 24 hours and 204 new infections.

In a similar situation to Australia, two of the five deaths were residents of a retirement home near Thessaloniki, being the source of dozens of COVID-19 patients.

A Thessaloniki prosecutor has ordered an investigation into the retirement home in Asvestochori, a small town on the outskirts of Thessaloniki, where 33 residents and three staff members have tested positive for Covid-19.

A municipal worker wearing a protective suit disinfects Syntagma square, after the Greek government imposed a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Athens, Greece, March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Chief epidemiologist Sotiris Tsiodras says the virus is believed to have been spread by a staff member who caught it from a relative who had recently attended a concert. The probe into the exact circumstances of the transmission was ordered by the chief of the northern city’s court of first instance, Stefanos Zarkantzias.

The five deaths increased the nationwide death toll to 221, over hundred less than Australia who have had 375 people die as a result of the virus. It is important to note that Australia has over double the population of Greece.

Greece also recorded 204 new infections, with only of those 12 involving foreign tourists tested at the country’s borders. The vast majority of infections are through community transmission, prompting health experts to appeal to citizens to be more diligent in their use of face masks and social distancing. 

“The situation in our country has the dynamic of a second wave of the pandemic,” the vice president of EODY, Giorgos Panagiotakopoulos told Kathimerini.

He said it was difficult to draw parallels between the current phase of the pandemic and its initial phase, observing that more testing is revealing more infections. He added that despite the sharp increase in cases, the pandemic “has not yet spiralled out of control.” 

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