ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece on Monday reported the lowest number of new coronavirus cases since March 12, indicating a flattening of the curve, but warned against complacency.
The country reported 20 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the total number of patients with the virus to 1,755. It was the lowest number of new cases in more than three weeks, according to available data reviewed by Reuters.
Seventy-nine people have died.
Greece has imposed a nationwide lockdown and banned arrivals from non-EU countries as well as Germany, Italy and Spain. The measures have hit its economy, which is relying on tourism for a recovery after a decade-long debt crisis.
“I think it’s clear to us that in the past few days there is a slowdown and we expect to see a reduction, which means the measures are showing results,” said Professor Sotiris Tsiodras, the government’s chief scientific adviser on the coronavirus.
Authorities have extended a lockdown until April 27, meaning that restrictions will apply over Easter, the most important religious holiday in the Orthodox calendar when hundreds of thousands of Greeks normally head to their family homes to celebrate.
“The battle we are waging is a difficult one and the worst mistake we can do is underestimating the enemy so it’s important to listen to experts and avoid any movement unless absolutely necessary,” Crisis Management Minister Nikos Hardalias said.
Tsiodras said that despite a crisis which had left public health services severely stretched, Greeks were still coming forward to help with other medical emergencies. Two individuals had given bone marrow samples to assist people in need.
At a news briefing, he thanked Savvas, a man from northern Greece, and Andreas, from Crete. One sample would be sent to a child in Turkey.
“This is exactly what solidarity among peoples means before a common enemy,” he said.
Greece and Turkey have testy relations on a range of issues from mineral rights in the Aegean to the ethnically split island of Cyprus.
Reporting by Michele Kambas; Editing by Giles Elgood