The COVID-19 pandemic in Greece is part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first case in Greece was confirmed on 26 February 2020, when a 38-year-old woman from Thessaloniki who had recently visited Νorthern Italy, was confirmed to be infected. The first death from COVID-19 in Greece was a 66-year-old man, who died on 12 March. As of 25 August 2020, there have been 8987 confirmed cases and 243 deaths.
Following the confirmation of the first three cases in Greece, all carnival events in the country were cancelled on 27 February. Health and state authorities issued precautionary guidelines and recommendations, while measures up to early March were taken locally and included the closure of schools and the suspension of cultural events in the affected areas (particularly Ilia, Achaea and Zakynthos). On 10 March, with 89 confirmed cases and no deaths in the country, the government decided to suspend the operation of educational institutions of all levels nationwide and then, on 13 March, to close down all cafes, bars, museums, shopping centres, sports facilities and restaurants in the country.
On 24 July there were 26 new confirmed cases, bringing the total number to 4,135. Of the 26 new cases, 8 were reported in Attica, 5 in Thessaloniki, 1 each in Magnesia, Halkidiki and Kavala, while 10 persons tested positive on arrival. The death toll stood at 201. On 25 July there were 31 new confirmed cases, bringing the total number to 4,166. Of the 31 new cases, 9 were reported in Attica, 4 in Thessaloniki, 2 each in Xanthi and Samos, 1 each in Imathia, Rethymnon and Heraklion, while 11 persons tested positive on arrival. The death toll remained unchanged.
On 26 July there were 27 new confirmed cases, bringing the total number of cases to 4,193. Of the 27 new cases, 7 were reported in Attica, 3 in Achaia, 2 each in Viotia and Zakynthos, 1 each in Thessaloniki, Kavala, Kozani, Lefkada and Pieria, while 8 persons tested positive on arrival. The death toll rose to 202.From 23 June to 24 July there were 43 confirmed cases in the Ionian islands.Greece’s tourism industry has been negatively impacted by the crisis, and a 9.7% economic contraction has been predicted for the fiscal year 2020, but demand from home purchases from residents of other European countries has increased as many properties have become available as a result of Greece’s economic difficulties.
Starting on 16 March, the Hellenic Ministry of Health introduced a daily afternoon live televised briefing with updates on the progression of the pandemic in the country and the government’s emergency measures, hosted by Dr. Sotiris Tsiodras, the health ministry spokesman on the coronavirus pandemic, and Deputy Minister for Civil Protection and Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias, with occasional appearances of other government officials as well. From the beginning of May, the live televised briefings were held three times a week, while a daily COVID-19 report by NPHO on the progression of the disease in the country was published online.
On 16 March Greece closed its borders with Albania and North Macedonia, deciding to suspend all road, sea and air links with these countries, while only permitting the transport of goods and the entry of Greek nationals and residents. The suspension of ferry services to and from Italy, air links to Spain, as well as the prohibition of all cruise ships and sailboats docking in Greek ports was also decided. The same day it was announced that a 14-day home restriction will be mandatory for those who enter the country.
On 19 March, the government announced the closure of all hotels across the country, from midnight on March 22 and until the end of April. Only hotels that accommodate personnel that guard the border will continue to operate, as well as three hotels in Athens and Thessaloniki and one hotel per regional unit will remain open. Moreover, all Greek citizens returning from abroad will be subjected to mandatory surveillance and isolation for at least 14 days. On 22 March, all parks, recreation areas and marinas were also closed.