Greece tops 500 daily COVID-19 infections for first time

Spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Piraeus

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece recorded 508 new confirmed coronavirus infections on Friday, topping the 500 daily mark for the first time, health authorities said, as they urged compliance with mask wearing and social distancing.

Of the 508 new cases, 227 were recorded in the Athens metropolitan area and 63 in Thessaloniki, the country’s second largest city. There were eight deaths from the disease.

“For the first time we went over 500 daily diagnoses of coronavirus,” said epidemiologist Gikas Magiorkinis. “The drop in temperatures may tilt the balance, intensifying the epidemiological trend.”

Earlier, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told reporters after an EU leaders’ summit in Brussels that Greece was still among the countries faring better in Europe.

“But this may change at any moment if we do not comply with the recommended measures,” he said.

Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias said the country was still in a stable situation, but “this stability is especially fragile”.

“All that is happening in Europe shows that we should not be complacent,” he said.

(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Alex Richardson)