Greece's confirmed coronavirus cases jump to 331, more measures introduced

Source: Xinhua| 2020-03-16 02:35:44|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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ATHENS, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Greece's Health Ministry announced on Sunday that 103 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the past few hours, bringing the total to 331 across the country.

Eight patients out of 51 hospitalized were in serious condition, Sotirios Tsiodras, the ministry's spokesperson for coronavirus prevention, told a press briefing.

The rest are in quarantine at home, while 10 have recovered and left hospitals, he said.

Earlier on Sunday Greek authorities reported the fourth fatality in the country since the first case was recorded on Feb. 26.

On Sunday the government announced a new set of measures aimed to contain the further spread of the virus.

All road, sea, air links with Albania and North Macedonia are suspended except for the transport of goods and the entry of Greek nationals or those residing in Greece, according to an e-mailed press release from the office of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Air link with Spain and passenger transport by sea with Italy are also suspended, while the transport of goods will continue.

Cruise ships and tourist boats are banned from docking at Greek ports.

The restrictions are in effect as of Sunday afternoon until April 15.

A number of public hospitals' wings will be exclusively for the treatment of patients with coronavirus. Dozens more persons will be added to the staff of the emergency number 1135. Under coordinated efforts with foreign embassies, there will be supply of masks in the following days from other countries, noted the statement.

In addition to other legal consequences, a 5,000 euro (5,500 U.S. dollars) fine will be imposed to those with anti-social behavior that violate the announced measures, it was stressed.

Mitsotakis also asked the Greek Orthodox Church that all churches operate only for necessary rituals.

"The government is determined to take all the necessary measures to protect the health of the citizens and the citizens should show the highest possible personal and social responsibility," the statement concluded.

In order to improve coordination and efficiency in tackling the outbreak, General Secretary of Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias was appointed as Deputy Minister of Citizen Protection and Crises Management, government spokesperson Stelios Petsas announced in an email press statement.

As of Monday, super markets and pharmacies will be operating with crowd control to avoid overcrowding.

During the past week, Greek authorities proceeded to close schools, universities, restaurants, coffee shops, hair salons, malls and beaches and ski resorts. (1 euro = 1.11 U.S. dollars)