Coronavirus: Optimism for eradicating the disease in Greece – How tourism can be activated

If there is one country that is closer than the others to eradicating COVID-19 disease, it is Greece, scientists say with restrained optimism. Already, there are thoughts on how summer could be supported even tourism.
(Kefalonia Pulse clarifications (1) orphan = case not linked to an identified Covid-19 case  (2) this article comes from a medical journal and gives a balanced view on the likelihood of tourism this Summer including the likely need for a quarantine period! )
In an interview with, the assistant professor at the Department of Health & Epidemiology of the Medical School of EKPA and member of the Committee of Experts of the Ministry of Health, Mr. Majorkinis Gikas, states that he is optimistic. An optimism draws from recent epidemiological data from the Imperial Gollege World Infectious Diseases Analysis Center , which show the sharp decline in coronavirus infections since March 23 in Greece. The day the two most effective measures to reduce the epidemic were implemented: the closure of schools and the lockdown.

The “key” to eradicating the disease, according to the professor, is the complete elimination of “orphaned” cases, which will be evidence of the “disappearance” of COVID-19 disease from Greece.

“When the number of” orphaned “cases drops dramatically, that is, when the cases we find are the result – exclusively – of tracking, then we will have full control of the epidemic,” says Marjorkinis Gikas.

The controlled spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus – that is, cases whose contacts are tracked in time and isolated – does not particularly concern epidemiologists. With a special strategy, which has already begun to be discussed, it is not ruled out that in the summer it will be allowed with a special strategic plan, for even tourists to enter the country safely.

Mayorkinis Gikas: “Zeroing” orphaned “cases is tantamount to eradication”

– Mr Gika, we currently have 2,145 confirmed cases of SARS-CoV2 virus in the country. Of these, about 25% are related to travel from abroad and 40% became ill after contact with a confirmed case. There is also a 35% that we do not know, however, the source of transmission. You say that if this percentage is zero we will fully control the disease. What applies;

If at the moment we have, say, 100 cases that we have diagnosed, and tomorrow the only cases we find are their relatives and the day after we find their friends, that means the epidemic is very specific, we know where it is and it is limited. . As the number of people who have not been connected to a source increases, it means that we do not know where the epidemic is coming from. Of the 31 new cases we had yesterday, for example, how many of them are “orphaned” and how many are interconnected? We are interested in that. Reduce this number in new cases. When the number of “orphan” cases decreases dramatically, that is, when the cases we find are the result exclusively of tracking, then we have full control of the epidemic.

-Are there epidemiological models that help us tell when this number has been tested?

The absolute thing is not to find any orphaned cases.

-Are you optimistic about eradicating the disease in Greece? How close or far are we?

For any country it is difficult, but Greece is closer than any other country I think. If we have zero orphan cases for a sufficient period of time, I believe that the epidemic is under full control, which is equivalent to eradication.

Koronio: The eradication of the disease from China and fears about new imported cases

– Professor, the eradication of the disease has taken place in China, but in recent days there have been fears of a “resurgence” due to “imported” cases.

In China, there is eradication and only cases are coming in. It’s just a re-introduction of cases. And that shows us that the second wave will come out. Of course, it is also necessary to control incoming cases. I think China has succeeded so far.

– In China yesterday, almost 100 tourists tested positive for the virus. Shouldn’t a country that has eradicated the disease have closed borders so that it can declare itself safe?

He detects the incidents in time and whoever enters the country is examined and has a health certificate. In theory, the Chinese authorities say they are in control. Having someone come to the country and be diagnosed and put in their home means that the epidemic is under control. What we are interested in is knowing where the epidemic is. That is, to be located. Not transmitted. The plane may have crashed in the country, but it did not spread to anyone in the community. So it is not a danger to others. If, say, tomorrow the borders open and a thousand people come to the country and we know before they get on the plane, who is positive and who is negative, we say to those who are positive stay where you are and only the negative come. And then we put the negatives in quarantine and test them after 10 days. If after 10 days we find 5 positives, nothing is running. The epidemic has not spread, we know where the case came from, where it is located and where it is going. The point is to have full control over the epidemic.


– Could our tourism work in a similar way in the summer? That is, if all goes well until then, should we allow tourists to enter with checks?

I can’t easily see any other way. By the summer, antibody tests may be even more effective. Some could come, who have positive antibodies, who we know are immune.

-Is there a scientific way and strategy that can ensure the entry of tourists in the summer in the country, safely for Greek citizens?

Yes. Test before the flight and quarantine then for a small number of days, in a hotel for example, which will be exclusively for this purpose. It could even be an all-inclusive hotel, ie only for tourists, so that they can spend their holidays in parallel. Then, if after a few days the negative test comes out, the visitor should be completely free to circulate within the country.

Mayokirkinis Gikas: “No country can make a herd immune without a vaccine”

– Mr. Gika, another important scientific dilemma of the pandemic is the infamous “immunity”. There is a “blurred” landscape about it, as the data and scientists do not say the same things. Some argue that an organism may not develop antibodies to the virus.

It is true that we do not have enough data and also on the issue of immunity is still early. However, there is no precedent to show that it will not be immune, that is, similar infections where the population is not immune. So we have no serious reason to worry that it does not do immunity. There are some patients who do not have good immunity, but it is not just for this virus, they may have a problem with other viruses. Like there are people who get vaccinated and don’t catch them. We are not impressed by this. It’s something we study.

This virus also does not mutate quickly, so we have no indication that the proteins that cover the virus will not be recognized by the antibodies. What some people are implying is that the virus may have escaped in some way. Or not to allow the development of antibodies, to do something absurd that is, which I do not see with more mechanism can be done. People make antibodies. We know. There are studies that already show that they are immune response. The key question is, I imagine: this is the question that the “herd immunity” says, which, given the data we have to date, does not seem to be the case in any of the countries we know.

– That is, countries in which there has been a large spread of the virus, such as China or Italy, and the diaspora continues will not at some point make “herd immunity”?

When we say many incidents, in Italy e.g. 8% of the population is infected. In Greece we are at 0.17% compared to the approximately 2,000 we have diagnosed. Are they actually 20,000 real? And if we have missed a lot and are in the 100,000 real cases, in order to be able to achieve a herd immunity, the 7 million Greeks would have to get sick. Let’s say in Italy as well. Those who have been diagnosed with both 10 and 100 to multiply the number, again Italy will not even reach the herd immunity.

– So we only expect a herd immunity from the vaccine, not from a natural disease?

At a historical level, the other thing that epidemiologists know very well is this: When a disease comes to a population, for reasons we do not fully understand, they cannot infect the entire population. The rate at which it can infect is called the attack rate, and this usually does not exceed 30%. When, for example, the virus entered the Diamond Princess, it did not infect the entire population of the ship, but only about 30%. We consider this to be a psychological limit for the virus. In other words, if we left him completely out of control in Greece, he would stop when he would infect around 3,000,000 inhabitants. It would not reach the herd’s immunity, that is, 7 million. And this is due to a phenomenon that we do not fully understand. So even if we left the virus completely out of control, it would not be enough to infect such a large percentage in any country.

source –

One thought on “Coronavirus: Optimism for eradicating the disease in Greece – How tourism can be activated

  • April 23, 2020 at 9:35 am

    Naturally, a lot talk about when and how this country will allow the flow of tourism.

    For a country that nearly the 20% of GDP comes from a single source, tourism, the talks and debates are well understood.
    However, one could easy denote the following:
    1. Fact, the tourists will come from countries mostly with high COVID -19 penetration based on their reported statistics.
    2. Fact, as of now, the testing is not widely available and its results cannot be taken with very high certainty since the virus has about 14 days to show in testing, as a result, even if one tests everyone coming to this country , will be missing some percentage. And, without effective medication and no vaccine in the horizon, the possibility of another virus wave is almost certain.
    3. Fact, tourists prefer the islands where the medical and health structure is, at best, very weak with very limited capacity in particular for virus patients. Even, with out the virus the regional hospitals are struggling to support medical needs for the tourist population….
    4. Fact, the financial support for the country’s health system is not even enough to cover the needs of the citizens , image, if one adds another, let us assume , 25 or 30% to the system especially for treating virus patients….
    5. Fact, we all came to reality and recognized that a pandemic such as this, showed that the EU has not and will not produced any solidarity among its member countries in any type of human need…clearly nothing new, just the COVID-19 made it crystal clear to each and every citizen of the union!

    And the basic question is ;
    How anyone can think of opening the gates of this economically sensitive country to tourism ?
    How can the minister of tourism talk about using the country’s successful resistance to the pandemic as the big plus to attack tourism ? Unreal ….unfair….unrealistic….
    On the other hand, this deadly disease should bring one question to the surface where this country should invest to develop new sources of revenues so that tourism is not the only “heavy” industry that the country has.
    We need not only to be successful, as we are, combating this virus but to also learn how the social economic and environmental system can be changed to better for the citizens.


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