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ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece reported 4,340 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, its highest daily tally, after increasing the number of tests performed while its hospitals remain under severe pressure from a wave of new infections.
Greece fared better than many other European countries in the first wave of the pandemic last year. But a surge in COVID infections has forced the government to tighten restrictions as intensive care units have come close to being overwhelmed.
“The number is high, but this is mainly due to the large, almost double, number of tests compared with previous days,” a health official told Reuters.
Authorities reported 1,724 new cases on Monday.
The latest spike in infections adds to growing worries over the upcoming tourist season, due to open May 14.
Greece, which depends on the travel industry for around a fifth of its economic output, suffered its steepest tourism slump ever last year and its fragile economy, still recovering from a decade-long financial crisis, will come under extreme strain if there is another lost summer.
The government is hoping a campaign of mass testing, including using home testing kits, will enable health services to bring the spread of infections under control in the coming weeks.
The latest jump in infections brings the total number of cases in the country to 260,077. Authorities also registered 72 deaths, bringing the number of victims since the onset of the pandemic to 8,017.
The government last week ordered private sector doctors in the broader Athens region to assist its public health system, which has struggled to fight fast-spreading COVID-19 infections.
(Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas; Editing by Dan Grebler)
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