Some 46 new coronavirus infections, raising Greece’s confirmed cases total to 464, were announced on Thursday evening at the daily briefing by infectious diseases professor Sotiris Tsiodras.
Of these infections, 72 are of undetermined origin. In total, 78 patients are hospitalized, 16 of whom are intubated in Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras hospitals.
So far 19 patients have been discharged, said Tsiodras.
Greece has had 6 deaths related to coronavirus since the outbreak of the disease.
Access to therapies
Doctors in Greece have access to all medicine and experimental therapies currently tested by health authorities and doctors in severe cases of coronavirus in other countries, Tsiodras said in the press briefing, responding to questions.
"All medications are available and will be given to those patients who need them most," he stressed.
Tsiodras also said that patients who had an advanced case of the disease and showed no response to other medication might be administered coronavirus antibodies of people who got ill but recovered on an experimental basis.
He reiterated that statistical studies carried out by the University of Athens confirm that the real number of coronavirus cases in Greece stands between 2,000 and 3,000 (untested) cases. He also said that, according to international data, the mortality risk for healthy people with coronavirus is less than 1 pct but is ten times higher for those with underlying health issues.
Tsiodras was particularly clear about containing the spread of the disease, and warned those taking early vacation to islands for Easter that they would potentially endanger residents in remote areas. "It's unacceptable for boats to be loaded with people as if it's August 15," he said, referring to the Virgin's Dormition, traditionally a very busy holiday week.
Deputy Minister of Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias said that March 23 will see the closure of all year-round hotels in Greece until end-April, with few exceptions, speaking at the daily update on the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday evening, alongside professor Sotiris Tsiodras.
He did however clarify that a selection of hotels in the prefecture of Thrace and the islands would remain in operation for use by Greek and EU border defense forces. Local hotel associations will decide on which will remain open, Hardialas elaborated.
Hardalias reminded that Greeks returning to the country are obliged to remain in a 14-day isolation, and reiterated the strict recommendation that "citizens should remain in their homes and their out-of-home movement should be kept to a minimum.”
He pointed out that discipline to the measures and diligence in keeping a responsible stance against the virus are key to tackling its spread, and should be the top priority at personal level, as it is for the government.
Fast-track medical hires
A total of 45,076 people applied for nursing-related positions, part of the government's hirings for the coronavirus pandemic, according to regional health service data on Thursday.
Of all the applicants, over 500 have been hired in the last two weeks as nursing staff. The Ministry of Health has already sent regional services over 1,000 approved hirings.
In terms of ancillary doctors, over 100 have been hired, and another 254 approved. They are staffing hospitals, health centers and the emergency ambulance service EKAV.
The authorities said that hirings of both nursing staff and doctors will continue on a daily basis.