The new school year in Greece is underway amid widespread parental concern about the safety of their children. In an effort to restore calm, the Greek political elite has been crossing the country, expressing support for teachers and pupils, as well as reassuring everyone that matters are under control.
Throughout schools in Greece, children and parents were presented with leaflets about minimising the risks of contracting swine flu, the Greek Kathimerini has reported. Moreover, school staff have been instructed to be on high alert and supply regular information to the competent authorities entrusted with dealing with the pandemic.
Prime minister Costas Karamanlis, has toured schools in Athens whereas his political opponent from Pasok, George Papandreou, has visited educational establishments in Thessaloníki.
"You are all aware of the new flu and of the greater need for cleanliness," said Karamanlis, quoted by Kathimerini.
Greece, the most seriously affected country by the H1N1 strain in the Balkans, has surpassed 2000 cases of infected people. Of this number, 11 people are reported to be in a serious condition, and one person has already succumbed to the strain, Greece’s first and so far only fatality.
Measures include setting up an emergency call centre, operated by the hotline number 1550. The Greek health ministry’s website will also "be providing specific information about preventive measures and steps people can take to protect themselves against contracting the bug".
More than 45 000 vaccinations have now been secured for teaching staff. The country has already earmarked a 40 million euro package for vaccines and has placed further orders with Novartis, Glaxo and Sanofi for eight million additional vaccine doses.