Greece is the only “green” country on the European epidemiological map showing the prevalence of coronavirus infections, according to new information released on Thursday by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
This admirable accolade is not completely unexpected, however, as the the positive epidemiological data of the recent days in Greece is reflected in the new map.
Greece stands by itself as the only European Union country with “green zones” indicating a low rate of novel coronavirus infections. The maps are based on data for the 14 days up to midnight on Tuesday of each week.
These ‘green’ zones — which concern the combined indicator made up of the 14-day notification rate, testing rate and test positivity — are in parts of Epirus and the Ionian, Cyclades and Dodecanese archipelagos.
The remainder of the country, however, is also doing better than the EU average and is in the next-best yellow zone at a time when most EU countries are in the red zone.
Lockdown relaxation considered
Significantly, all of Greece is marked ‘green’ for its positivity rates, meaning that they are below 4 percent, at a time when most of Europe is marked yellow for rates greater than or equal to 4 percent.
Greece was also among countries with the fewest cases per 100,000 population during the last two weeks.
Although scientists still continue to warn that a third coronavirus wave cannot be excluded, Greek authorities are considering relaxing the national lockdown, starting next week.
Deputy Civil Protection and Crisis Management Minister Nikos Hardalias said on Tuesday that Greece was “at the beginning of the end” of the battle against the coronavirus.
“Just a few more weeks, just a few more months before we are able to return, step by step, to the normality we have lost,” he stated.
“Very encouraging” news
“It is very encouraging that during the last weeks, Greece has started to bend the curve,” Vasileios Margaritis, an expert in Public Health at Walden University in the US, tells Greek Reporter.
He notes that although there are no epidemiological studies as of yet to explain this event, the experience gained from the spring lockdown and unpublished data point to three main factors:
“A significant decrease of personal/social contacts for about 80% and the early November shutting down of places which could significantly contribute to the spread of the virus (malls, clubs, bars, restaurants, night curfew) appear to play the most significant role in this improvement.
“In addition, the mandatory use of masks both indoors and outdoors, which is practiced by the great majority of the Greeks, can be also considered as positive factor to limit the cases, hospitalizations and deaths,” Margaritis says.
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