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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, faced with a growing number of cases of Covid-19 in recent days, especially in the Attica region, admitted on Thursday a new confinement if the measures in force are not respected.
“There is a new increase in the coronavirus” and “the dilemma is currently self-protection or confinement”, warned the Prime Minister during an intervention on television and in which he stressed that it was necessary to choose the first option because of the negative repercussions of confinement.
The Conservative Prime Minister called on the population to respect “distance measures” and above all “the use of masks in all confined spaces and the extension of teleworking”.
Despite being less affected compared to other European countries, Greece (10.9 million inhabitants) has recorded an increase in cases of the new coronavirus in recent days, with on average more than 300 infected.
The country has officially registered 16,627 cases to date, including more than 10,000 in recent months. The total death toll since the outbreak of the pandemic in late February stands at 366 people, with a record nine deaths since Wednesday.
“In view of the return of the threat, I call for new surveillance, without imposing new measures but respecting existing ones”, especially in the most affected regions such as Attica, Mitsotakis underlined in his ten-minute speech. .
Due to a fragile hospital system, especially after the severe austerity measures imposed by international creditors following the “debt crisis” (2010-2018), Greece has adopted strict general containment for six weeks before the end of March. return to “normality” at the beginning of May.
Unions and hospital staff have expressed concern about the increase in the number of people in intensive care and connected to a ventilator, around 70 currently.
“In hospitals we had 580 patients with Covid-19, whose average age is 68, and in intensive care units there are even 17-year-olds,” Matina Pagoni said on Wednesday. , president of the Union of Doctors of Athens and Piraeus, to point out that some hospitals in the capital are overcrowded.
However, the Prime Minister assured that “hospitals have not reached their limits” and that “additional beds” are planned in some hospitals.
This Thursday, the European Union called on member states to tighten control measures “immediately” in the face of new outbreaks of the Covid-19 epidemic, the day after the announcement of new restrictions in France.