Greek Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias announced the shutting down of all schools in Greece on Tuesday in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus which has reached 89 following five new cases related to the group that was infected following a trip to the Holy Lands.

The school closures affect all levels from daycare to university, including all academic and technical institutions. The measure also includes ‘frondistiria’, private institutes where students go to learn languages and progress in their academic attainments.

Greek Education Minister Niki Kerameus said that adjustments to school schedules will be made to ensure that class time is not lost. Additional solutions to make up for lost time would include the cancellation of bimonthly school excursions, shortening Easter vacation and extending the school year.

A committee of experts of the Health Ministry decided on this regulation to stop children from transferring the illness to more vulnerable groups.

Specialists point to the high transmissibility of the virus by people with mild or no symptoms and the fact that the virus can remain in a child’s body beyond 14 days. Children could inadvertently be carriers of the virus for longer periods without becoming severely ill themselves.

Experts of the health ministry expect the virus to reach a distribution climax in Greece from two to four weeks from today, and estimate that those most infected are between the ages of 30 to 69 years. They carry a viral load on their bodies for up to 20 days, but it is more difficult for the virus to become transmitted after the first 10 days.

The Greek Health Ministry has called on parents to minimise children’s outings as much as possible.

Church and communion

In contrast to the measures being introduced by the Greek Health Ministry and Education Department, the church has not introduced restrictions to limit the affects of the coronavirus.

The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece on Monday encouraged parishioners to take part in Holy Communion.