Covid-19: Greece’s numbers rise after easing – is that threatening Germany?


On November 7, 2020, Greece went into the second lockdown – much earlier than many other EU countries. In Germany, the new lockdown did not start until December 16 – in the hope of bringing the increasing number of infections under control in good time before Christmas. At that time the Greeks were no longer allowed to leave the house without good reason. Anyone who wanted to go shopping or go to the doctor during the day even had to inform the authorities via SMS. All shops except supermarkets, pharmacies and other vital businesses were closed.  The re was a curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Daycare centers and primary schools remained open, all other schools were closed.


 The  lockdown, originally planned for three weeks, was initially extended to December 7th, and then to January 7th, 2021. Although the number of infections had decreased slightly, the results of the lockdown were not satisfactory, the Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas justified this decision. A poll published at the end of November reflected the approval of a large part of the population: 36 percent had spoken out in favor of the lockdown “as long as it is necessary”.

Second lockdown lowers new infections and death rates


 The  strict measures had an effect: As the following graphic shows, the number of new infections fell significantly during the lockdown.

Chart: 7-day incidence of new corona infections in Greece

  • ©

     The  red lines mark the beginning of the second and third lockdown

While the Greek authorities reported an average of 2347 new infections every day at the beginning of the second lockdown and this number has now climbed to 2673, the value on January 18 was only 535 – at a level that the country had last reached in October.


 The  number of infections is significantly lower than in Germany, but Greece only has eleven million inhabitants. In relation to the number of inhabitants, the 7-day incidence in Greece in mid-November was significantly higher than that in Germany. It wasn’t until the end of November that the tide turned and the measures in Greece began to take effect: While Germany reported an average of 307 new infections per million inhabitants at the end of December, the figure in Greece was only 80 (7-day incidence on December 23).

With a corresponding delay, the death toll in Greece also fell. ©

 The y had risen rapidly up to November 28th. ©

 The  authorities reported 121 Covid-19 deaths within 24 hours on November 28th, on January 18th there were only 19.

Government opens shops in mid-January – apparently too early


 The  government and experts saw the right moment on January 18, 2021 to relax the measures again. Now they had lasted long enough – two months to the day. From January 18, shops were allowed to reopen – unless they were located in a district more severely affected by the corona pandemic. One person was allowed per 25 square meters of retail space.


 The re were also reliefs for those businesses in areas with more corona cases. ©

 The re, the shops were allowed to sell their goods from Monday at least via “Click Away”. This means that customers ordered online or by phone and could then receive their goods in front of the store. Primary schools and kindergartens were allowed to reopen, as well as churches from January 25th.

“We can be sure that the measures will be relaxed,” said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis during a parliamentary debate in Athens. ©

 The  virologists would have given the green light.

Curve rises again after loosening – mutations as a possible cause

But the country had apparently rejoiced too soon. ©

 The  relaxation was promptly followed by a renewed increase in the number of infections. He was expected, but not at such a speed, said virologists and pulmonologists in the Greek media.

Chart: Increase in new infections since the end of the second lockdown on January 18 (7-day incidence)

In addition to the relaxation, virus mutations could also be responsible for the increase. ©

 The  South African virus mutant was first discovered in Greece at the end of January; the British was already in circulation.

Graphic: Course of the New infections since the beginning of the pandemic

Overall, the number of corona cases in Greece based on the number of inhabitants is much lower than in many other European countries. However, the health sector is not particularly well equipped after the country’s longstanding financial crisis and has come under constant pressure since the beginning of the pandemic. One reason for the government to take a relatively tough course from the start compared to other EU countries.


 The  following graphic compares the New infections per million inhabitants in Greece (gray) and Germany (green).


 The  two curves clearly show that Germany suffered more from the coronavirus last spring, while Greece was able to maintain a low level of infection for a long time. A comparison: Germany had a 7-day incidence of 69.66 on April 2, 2020, while Greece had a 8.14.

In autumn, the numbers rose sharply in both countries. While new infections have been falling again in Germany since mid-January, they have been rising continuously in Greece since the end of January. Germany is currently still in the second lockdown, Greece ended this on January 18th.

Third wave: is Germany facing the same fate?

In this country, too, easing is pending. ©

 The  federal and state governments have decided to only impose night curfews in corona hotspots with immediate effect. Schools and daycare centers will gradually reopen from February 22nd. Hairdressers are allowed to resume their work on March 1, and further shops and museums could open from March 7, if a stable incidence of a maximum of 35 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants is reached within seven days.

Are these easing coming too early in Germany too? Is there a threat of a third wave here too? In this regard, Greece should serve as a warning not to relax measures too early and not to prematurely see the pandemic as over. But the ©

 The  situation in Germany and Greece cannot be directly compared with one another. ©

 The  planned easing in Germany is more timid than in Greece.

Initially, non-essential stores will remain closed. Schools should open gradually and only in an alternating model. Some of the students are taught in the class and the other alternately at home. This initially only applies to students in grades 1 to 3 or, in some federal states, grades 1 to 6.

Some federal states have also linked school opening to a certain 7-day incidence. In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, for example, this must be less than 50 infections per 100,000 inhabitants, in Bavaria less than 100. Daycare centers will also open again from February 22nd, some with restrictions. In Berlin, for example, not all children are allowed to be brought back to care at the same time; daycare centers should initially be used to a maximum of 60 percent of their normal capacities.

Greece in lockdown again since February 11th

In Greece, the greater Athens area is now returning to the third lockdown after just over a month. Due to the increasing number of infections, there has been another hard lockdown since last Thursday, February 11 – initially for two and a half weeks. More than a third of the population lives in the area.


 The  police are using numerous roadblocks to enforce the measures. Even drones are used, as the Greek media reported. Apart from supermarkets, pharmacies and petrol stations, trade is closed, hairdressers, beauty and fitness studios, museums and archaeological sites are also closed.

A maximum of three occupants are allowed per car; the mask requirement is only waived for first-degree relatives. Written confirmation from the employer must be presented for the way to work. Only employees in industrial and service companies are allowed to work.

If, on the other hand, you want to go shopping, go to the doctor or take your dog for a walk, you have to send an SMS with a corresponding number to civil defense. And leaving the greater Athens area is only allowed for valid reasons – for example to work, for a funeral or if you are registered outside Athens and return to your place of residence.

Meanwhile, Greek experts are questioning whether the two and a half week lockdown will even be enough. “It may be that we have to extend the lockdown,” said the pathologist Achilles Gikas on February 11th, the Greek television channel Skai. ©

 The  day before, the health authority had reported 1496 new infections within 24 hours. Measured against the eleven million inhabitants of Greece, this is little compared to other EU countries. However, the health system, especially in the greater Athens area with its around four million inhabitants, is under great pressure, and most of the intensive care beds are already occupied.

Achilles Gikas is a member of the government’s corona crisis team. ©

 The  recommendation of American scientists to wear two masks on top of each other is also currently being discussed, said Gikas.

Vaccinated 3.56 percent of the Greek population

Like most other countries, Greece is placing great hopes on vaccinations in the fight against the pandemic. On the weekend after Christmas Eve, the country started with the first vaccinations, as did Germany. A total of 526,369 vaccine doses have now been administered there (As of February 13, 2021), in Germany there are 4.15 million (as of February 15, 2021).

Graphic: Percentage of the population who received at least one dose of vaccine

3.56 percent of the Greek population has received at least one can of the Covid 19 vaccine so far. In Germany it is 3.27 percent.

Graphic: Daily vaccination doses per 100 inhabitants: Greece is ahead of Germany


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Covid19 Greeces numbers rise easing threatening Germany


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