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Update – 29/11/2021

corona virus

As of the latest update by the Greek authorities, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 diagnosed cases in Greece 924,506. 96 new deaths were reported raising the total number to 17,959. The number of patients treated in intensive care units is currently 647. 3,823 new cases were announced yesterday in Greece. 973 of the new cases were found in the Attica region and 703 new cases in the Thessaloniki region.

Greece introduced new restrictions obliging churchgoers to present negative COVID-19 tests to attend services on Sunday following a surge in infections in recent weeks.

Under new rules announced on November 18, unvaccinated people are barred from indoor spaces including restaurants, cinemas, museums and gyms, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

In the case of churches, Sunday was the first day that those attending church service must present a negative test.

“[This is] to safeguard ourselves, and the people,” said Father Christos, a priest at the Ayios Spiridon Church in the city of Piraeus.

“It might be a bit difficult, but we will persist. We are obliged to comply with everything.”

Some churchgoers said fewer people than usual turned up for Sunday services because of the requirement that unvaccinated pay for their tests, a cost that could add up for those with families.

But out of four churches Reuters visited on Sunday, only one volunteer carried out checks, and that was with parishioners unfamiliar to them.

Greece has recorded a spike in infections this month, with daily cases hitting record highs. By Saturday, the country had recorded 920,683 infections, and 17,861 deaths since the start of the outbreak.

“I don’t like it, but what can we do? We are complying, but the Church is empty today. Obviously people cannot endure the expense, coming here with their children, how much money will they have to spend?” said a woman called Athina.

Chrysoula Bezentakou said she believed people were afraid. “People don’t want to do rapid tests, or vaccinations,” she said. “I think its psychological.”

With the daily infection and death rates hovering at a consistently high level and amid heightened concerns on a pan-European level due to the Omicron variant, the next fortnight will be pivotal regarding the strategy the government deploys to manage the fourth pandemic, whose peak is expected, according to estimates, around mid-December.

Nonetheless, despite the ever-increasing pressure on the health system, government estimates suggest the situation can remain under control, ruling out the prospect of a general lockdown. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis himself has categorically and repeatedly rejected the idea, insisting on the priority of keeping the market and education of all levels open.

Kathimerini understands that emergency measures are only restricted to certain local areas, modeled on those in place in other European countries. These provide for restrictions on the opening hours of restaurants and entertainment venues in conjunction with the ban on music and standing in those places. Additional restrictions on the unvaccinated or an extension of mandatory shots have been rejected as counterproductive.

Essentially, the government will stick to its threefold goal of increasing vaccinations as far as possible, intensifying controls for strict compliance with the measures that came into force last Monday, and boosting the National Health System with private sector backup.

The positivity percentage over the last seven days has been stable, ranging from 1.78% to 1.81%. Correspondingly, the seven-day fluctuating average of cases was stable over the last week with about 6,700 cases, while the average number of hospital admissions was 447 patients. Government officials point out the pressure on the health system last spring was much higher and intubations reached 841.

Five Greek citizens, who arrived from south African countries via a stopover in the United Arab Emirates, have been placed on a ten-day precautionary quarantine.

According to state news agency AMNA, they tested negative for Covid-19 upon arrival. However, they were quarantined as required by the new protocol due to the Omicron mutation of the coronavirus, which emerged in southern Africa, and are staying in a quarantine hotel.

The passengers will undergo a molecular diagnostic test (PCR) after ten days and if the result is negative their quarantine will end.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had earlier issued an emergency flight NOTAM for travelers from 9 South African countries (Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe) allowing only Greek nationals, as well as other travelers from the above countries traveling for essential reasons, on the condition of three negative tests or a special entry permit by the competent Greek consular authorities irrespective of their vaccination status. Upon arrival, all passengers are subjected to a rapid test and a 10-day quarantine at a space designated by authorities. Their release from quarantine is contingent upon a negative PCR test. Exempt from the above are children under 12.

There are no direct flights from the above 9 countries to Greece.

In more detail, the 3,823 new cases detected per Regional Unit:

  • Attica 973
    • Eastern Attica 118
    • Northern Sector of Athens  116
    • West Attica 49
    • Western Sector of Athens 139
    • Central Sector of Athens 276
    • Southern Sector of Athens 112
    • Piraeus 138
    • Islands 25
  • Thessaloniki 703
  • Etoloakarnania 70
  • Argolida 23
  • Arcadia 21
  • Arta 16
  • Achaia 124
  • Boeotia 41
  • Grevena 13
  • Drama 32
  • Evros 66
  • Evia 38
  • Evritania 4
  • Zakynthos 10
  • Ilia 27
  • Imathia 66
  • Heraklion 109
  • Thassos 3
  • Thesprotia 7
  • Thira 3
  • Ioannina 74
  • Kavala 31
  • Kalymnos 1
  • Karditsa 46
  • Kastoria 23
  • Corfu 65
  • Kefalonia 7
  • Kilkis 31
  • Kozani 69
  • Corinth 41
  • Kos 8
  • Laconia 20
  • Larissa 101
  • Lasithi 6
  • Lesvos 32
  • Lefkada 5
  • Lemnos 5
  • Magnesia 123
  • Messinia 62
  • Mykonos 3
  • Naxos 2
  • Xanthi 31
  • Paros 1
  • Pella 66
  • Pieria 47
  • Preveza 24
  • Rethymno 41
  • Rodopi 47
  • Rhodes 40
  • Serres 116
  • Sporades 5
  • Syros 3
  • Trikala 37
  • Fthiotida 60
  • Florina 33
  • Fokida 7
  • Chalkidiki 34
  • Chania 37
  • Chios 4
  • Under investigation 72

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