Policy responses for Greece - HSRM


Policy responses for Greece

1. Preventing transmission

The section on PREVENTING TRANSMISSION includes information on key public health measures that aim to prevent the further spread of the disease. It details how countries are advising the general public and people who (might) have the disease to prevent further spread, as well as measures in place to test and identify cases, trace contacts, and monitor the scale of the outbreak.

1.1 Health communication

An information campaign was launched by the Hellenic Ministry of Health very early (on February 21 – graphic illustrations of WHO hand hygiene guidelines), as part of official efforts to raise public awareness on the best ways to limit and delay the spread of COVID-19. The campaign would convey advice on hand hygiene, physical distancing, as well as personalised guidance for particular segments of the population, such as the elderly, vulnerable groups and children. In addition to being televised, the campaign advice is featured in newspapers, magazines, on the radio, online, on social media and on billboards.

As part of the information campaign carried out by the General Secretariat for Civil Protection, an emergency alert was sent on March 11, 17 and 22 en masse to smartphone devices in the country, which will reoccur whenever deemed necessary.

A 4-digit line 1135, created on March 7, operates on a 24hr basis, and directs people to the National Public Health Organisation’s call centre in order to provide information and answer any questions pertaining to Coronavirus.

Information and guidance to healthcare professionals, people using public transportation, the elderly, and vulnerable groups, as well aspsychological support of adults and children during the home-isolation and universal lockdown enactment, are also available on the websites of the Ministry of Health (https://www.moh.gov.gr/) and Hellenic National Public Health Organisation respectively (https://eody.gov.gr/) and on the official dedicated twitter and Instagram pages of the campaign “MenoumeSpiti” (“We are staying home”). As the epidemic progresses, guidance by the National Public Health Organisation is being modified and updated. A case in point, the interim additional guidance for infection prevention and control for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 in long-term care facilities.

From beginning of March, there was a live daily briefing at 6 pm in which the Head of the Expert Committee on Infectious Diseases appointed for the combat of COVID-19 epidemic, serving as the Spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, provided the public with the latest updates globally and nationally with regard to new cases, deaths, cases in critical condition, treatment options and vaccine development. In succession, the Deputy Minister of Civil Protection proceeded with an overview of compliance to existing measures, as well as announcements of new ones. The Deputy Minister of Health was also present in order to answer questions concerning the Health system. The live briefings, which wrapped up at the end of May when daily infections were at very low levels, returned twice a week from September 1st, after spike in cases.

The Protocol for arrivals in Greece, which is updated regularly to reflect epidemiological findings, can be found on travel.gov.gr, where information on diagnostic screening procedures, as well as The Passenger Locator Form (PLF) can also be obtained. The PLF can also be found on the Visit Greece app and at travel.gov.gr. It is strongly recommended that all visitors download the Visit Greece app (GDPR compliant) for free, prior their arrival in Greece.

The package of government information and advice on coronavirus (COVID-19), including the policies and decisions, the restrictions and guidelines that are in force, answers to frequently asked questions, information on the Government’s management arrangements during the state of emergency, and on the coronavirus information packs put together by the different ministries, is accessible on the dedicated webpage covid19.gov.gr.