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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-08-11

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM briefed on new flu developments
  • [02] Two shipwrecked Turkish nationals rescued by Greek ferry off Cos
  • [03] Vigilence on new flu
  • [04] Tsipras in Vytina on Wed.
  • [05] ASE : Decline

  • [01] PM briefed on new flu developments

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis was briefed on the worldwide new flu A/H1N1 virus outbreak and developments in Greece during a meeting on Tuesday with Çealth Ìinister Dimitris Avramopoulos, which was also attended by government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros.

    "We are monitoring the situation," Antonaros said afterwards, noting that there was still uncertainty over its progress in the scientific community while it was developing at differing paces country-to-country.

    He stressed the State officials' vigilance and close monitoring of the situation, as well as its collection of all relevant facts and the State's preparedness, guaranteed that the country will respond to the best possible degree.

    [02] Two shipwrecked Turkish nationals rescued by Greek ferry off Cos

    Two Turkish citizens, aged 39 and 19, were rescued by a Greek car/passenger ferry after their sailboat sank on the borderline of Greek waters south of the Dodecanese island of Cos on Monday afternoon, after taking on water.

    The skipper of the "Blue Star 2" ferry, which was headed to the port of Piraeus, spotted the two men on their boat's life raft and immediately changed course to pick up the two shipwrecked men, who are safe and well in health, and sailed back to Cos.

    The two men, who thanked the ferry captain for their rescue, were taken to the border island's general hospital for precautionary reasons, and are currently being hosted at a local hotel until the process of their repatriation to Turkey is completed.

    [03] Vigilence on new flu

    Health Minister Avramopoulos assured that the entire State mechanism was prepared and on constant alert regarding the new flu A/H1N1 outbreak, speaking to reporters on Tuesday after briefing Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    He added that all case scenarios were being examined, while he also stressed that "we will not allow our society to slip into a state of panic", noting that the government, under the prime minister's instructions, was operating in an organised and coordinated way.

    "The government is unceasingly monitoring the problem and immediately resolving any matters that arise," Avramopoulos added.

    The health minister formally announced that nurseries and kindergartens will open for the new school year as scheduled, with private pre-schools opening on August 17 and public pre-schools on September 1, while the final decision on primary and secondary schools will be taken following an overall assessment of the situation.

    Avramopoulos said that a total of 162,380 cases of the new flu have been recorded world-wide, among them 1,154 deaths, whereas in Greece 1,002 cases have been confirmed to date, of which 95 percent have recovered completely "and are back in their homes, in excellent health".

    There are two serious cases in intensive care at the present moment, the minister said, adding that the previous serious cases are well on the way to full recovery.

    Avramopoulos further said that the dispensation of antiviral medicines has been deregulated, while the primary healthcare network for the new flu was being expanded.

    As for the program for inoculation of the entire population in Greece decided by the government, including non-legal residents, Avrampoulos said that the priority will be the vulnerable (high-risk) population groups (i.e. childen, elderly, people with health problems), and on services that are crucial for the operation of the State, including Armed Forces and Security Corps personnel, local government hygiene services, the DEKO (public utilities and state organisations), and large private sector enterprises.

    The minister added that the prospect of new flu testing by certified private laboratories was also being mulled, while the vaccination operational plans were also in the process of completion, in collaboration with the Union of Prefectures of Greece (ENAE) and the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE).

    In Athens, for example, 27 vaccination centers and seven flu clinics were planned, he explained.

    The areas of action, the minister continued, include: mobilisation and training of human resources; monitoring of inoculation through the use of technology and software, while a record will be kept of those vaccinated; back-up for the prefectural and local governments; doubling of the four-digit '1135' telephone information hotline phone lines; and establishment of an extensive network of doctors for the inoculation process.

    Also, there will be an immediate addition of 50-60 more intensive care unit (ICU) beds, Avramopoulos said, adding that it went without saying that ICUs in private hospitals will also be used if necessary.

    Replying to press questions, Avramopoulos said that the exact number of inoculation centers would be announced soon, but noted indicatively that there would be some 140-150 such centers in the country's two largest prefectures, Attica and Thessaloniki. He added that the vaccination centers would be set up chiefly at schools, and would operate either on Friday afternoons or throughout the weekends.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos

    [04] Tsipras in Vytina on Wed.

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) leader Alexis Tsipras will visit the mountain town of Mainalos, in Vytina prefecture, near Tripolis, on Wednesday to discuss matters related to the conservation and management of the natural resources.

    During the visit, Tsipras will tour Mainalos before paying a call on the Vytina Forest Inspection Service, followed by a visit to the Vytina town hall, where he will meet with mayor Yiannis Sakellariou.

    [05] ASE : Decline

    Equity prices were dropping on Tuesday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with the basic share price index down 0.37 percent, standing at 2,330.92 points at 14:15 p.m., and turnover at 87.1 million euros.

    Individual sector indices were moving mostly downward, with the biggest gains in Telecoms, up 2.00 percent; Food and Beverages, up 0.91 percent; and Personal & Household Goods, up 0.85 percent.

    The biggest losses were in Health, down 3.54 percent; Raw Materials, down 2.45 percent; and Chemicals, down 2.41 percent.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was down 0.44 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was down 0.69 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was down 0.20 percent.

    Of the stocks moved, 57 were up, 131 were down, and 43 were unchanged.

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