Hot spots in the city have been deemed dangerous and should be shut down, the head of the National Hot Spot Initiative said Sunday.
Speaking at a panel discussion at the International Hot Spot Conference, Dr. Daniel Levy, chairman of the Hot Spot Research Institute and an adjunct professor at the University of California, Irvine, said he hopes the conference’s findings will help guide public health authorities in setting regulations to control the city’s hot spots.
“It is a fact that hot spots in Athens have become a danger to public health, but we also know that they are a very important source of income for the city,” he said.
“In fact, if you go to Athens, you will see that it is one of the most expensive cities in the world.
Hot spots have become the source of much of our economic activity.”
Levy said he had been concerned about Athens’ hot spots for several years and was particularly concerned about the city, a tourist destination, that was experiencing an uptick in air pollution.
“We know that the Greek government is working hard to reduce pollution levels and the impact on people,” he explained.
“But it is very important to realize that the real problem is that these hot spots have a very high concentration of people and have a high mortality rate.
The most important thing is to limit the population density.”
The most dangerous hot spots include the old industrial districts in Athens, where residents are suffering from respiratory illnesses, including asthma, and the northern suburbs of the capital, including the city center.
Levy warned that in the capital Athens, the concentration of the city has increased by 50 percent, adding that it was only a matter of time before these areas became “dead zones.”
Levys comments come after the government said it was shutting down the entire city of Athens and its surrounding area due to the worsening air quality.
The country has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with the number of cases doubling and the number who died quadrupling since it began on October 1.
The government has issued new measures that include banning the use of masks and the wearing of face masks for the entire year, including in the daytime.
On Friday, the health ministry announced that its chief of public health had banned the use and sale of all masks in public and warned that the ban would not be lifted until health officials can gather more data on the impact of the virus.
The ministry also announced plans to establish a network of monitoring stations and other public health measures to help people stay safe, such as using masks, walking in groups and not using mobile phones.