On December 2019, a series of pneumonia cases occurred in the city of Wuhan (China). On January 9, 2020, the Chinese health authorities announced that it is a new virus called COVID-19.

The coronavirus pandemic first appeared in Greece on February 26, with Ilia and Attica as the main affected areas. The National Public Health Organization (EODY) has been monitoring the situation to limit the population's contagion risk. Greek authorities responded quite quickly to the outbreak by imposing a nationwide lockdown and temporarily banning arrivals from non-EU countries, as well as from Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.

It’s very important for all of us to follow basic protective measures to keep the risk of contagion low.

How can I protect myself and the people around me?

In these situations, prevention is very important! Following the basic rules and recommendations from the EODY and the World Health Organization (WHO), you can protect yourself and the people around you from the coronavirus.

Things to do

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitiser, and avoid touching your face (eyes, nose, mouth) with your hands.
  • When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. Throw the tissue into a rubbish bin immediately after use and wash your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, use your flexed elbow.
  • Stay home in isolation if you have a cough, runny nose, fever, or sore throat. Even if symptoms are mild, avoid going to work or close contact with the people you live with. If symptoms become severe, you should immediately seek medical attention, preferably over the EODY's hotline, 1135. This toll-free number is active 24/7 (every day at every hour) and is available in Greek and English.
  • Keep a 2-meter distance from one another (social distancing).
  • If you are 70 years old or over or have chronic diseases and have mild symptoms such as difficulty breathing, you should immediately seek medical attention.
  • You must comply with your doctor's advice if you are under medication.

Things not to do

  • You should not come in contact with persons who show respiratory infection symptoms (cough, runny nose, fever, sore throat). And if you are the one with symptoms, you should protect other people by staying home.
  • Avoid gatherings, social events, visits to other houses and crowded spaces.
  • Avoid any non-essential movement within the country.
  • Do not visit your doctor or a health unit if you develop mild symptoms of respiratory infection (cough, runny nose, fever, sore throat).
  • Avoid visits to patients in hospitals. Avoid contact with elderly people or those who have chronic diseases. You could be putting people at risk without knowing it.

What are the symptoms?

This virus mainly causes respiratory symptoms (shortness of breath). However, the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to a common cold: runny nose, cough, fever and difficulty breathing. Some people may also experience extreme fatigue, loss of smell and taste or abdominal pain.

The effect of the virus on health can vary a lot from one person to another. Some people become infected but don't develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. While older people and those with pre-existing medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes are more likely to develop serious illnesses and are at a higher risk of needing hospital care.

You can find more information about COVID-19 on the World Health Organization (WHO) website, available in English, French and Arabic. Check also the FAQ page. You can also visit the official website of the Greek Ministry of Health to get updates on the situation.

What should I do if I don't feel well?

If you have mild symptoms like cough, runny nose, fever, or sore throat, stay home in isolation. It’s important you stay hydrated, eat, and get regular sleep.

While not feeling well, avoiding close contact with people around you is important. Keep a 2-meter distance from one another. You should also take the time to tell people who were in close contact with you that you do not feel well.

If you keep having high fever (38º or higher), cough and difficulty breathing, it's important you seek medical care. However, this does not mean you should go to the doctor immediately.

As the virus is highly contagious, Greek authorities recommend you to avoid going to the doctor or to the hospital unless you have severe difficulty breathing. Instead, you can seek medical advice from EODY doctors and call the EODY's hotline, 1135. This toll-free number is active 24/7 (every day at every hour) and is available in Greek and English.

The Greek Health Ministry and the National Public Health Care Organization - EODY are offering Covid-19 tests free of charge. The tests are carried out in specific public hospitals in several cities and under specific circumstances.

Coronavirus myth busting resources

Getting the right information about coronavirus, can help you stay safe. The spread of inaccurate information and myths can be dangerous and this may affect you and your family.

If you have any doubt about something that you heard or read, you can check the answer on the website of the World Health Organization for English, Arabic and French, or on the website of the Hellenic Ministry of Health for Greek.