Greece is struggling against COVID-19

If a person in Greece wants to learn more about COVID-19, they can access the website of the National Organization of Public Health (Εθνικός Οργανισμός Δημόσιας Υγείας/ΕΟΔΥ). This appears to be the main portal on COVID-19 in Greece. See the screenshot below on how it looks. You can scroll down, but the screenshot shows the front of the website, the very first view of the website to the concerned public.

Screenshot of first page of (Accessed 13 Mar 2020).

There are three items in the slider,

  1. The COVID-19 disease (selected by default, showing the telephone number 1135).
  2. Flu and seasonal flu.
  3. Use of antibiotics.

The slider item for the COVID-19 disease has a big graphic that says «For information regarding the Coronavirus(sic) call the 24/7 line 1135». It is self-defeating for a website to instruct the visitors to make a phone call for information, while it is very well possible to try to get most of that information from a website, this website. The result of this tragedy is that the people manning the telephone center behind the telephone number 1135 are struggling to answer calls.

  • There are reports that in most cases you get a busy signal when you try to call 1135. Most likely, the telephone center runs out of capacity to hold calls, and rejects many of them.
  • There are reports that once you get a line, you wait for around 30 minutes on the line before you manage to speak to a person.
  • There are reports that the people answering the calls for 1135 are struggling to keep up with the big number of calls. I think this would be a risk to the quality of response that an affected person needs.

News websites direct the people to call directly the telephone number 1135. Here is a screenshot from a random news website. The title says «Solve the problems now with 1135».

Seeking information

Here is the section where a person should look to find information. The title says «New coronavirus Covid-19(sic) — Instructions». The proper name is instead COVID-19 disease according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The subtitle says «Instructions for health practitioners, travelers and the public». The public, the most common consumer of these pages, is at the very end of the subtitle. This does not help the public to avoid calling 1135, and instead make an effort to read something from the website.

Clicking to get the actual information

Here is the page with the actual information. For crying out loud, it repeats the graphic that asks the public to call the 1135 information line. To get the actual information for the public, you would either need to 1) click on «Οδηγίες για το κοινό» at the top of the blue sidebar, or 2) scroll down the page to go manually to the section on information for the public.

Information for the public

You have clicked on «Οδηγίες για το κοινό» to find information for the public. Here is what you get. On the top is a Q&A regarding the «new coronavirus SARS-Cov-2(sic)». The new official name for the disease is COVID-19 (established by the WHO on 11th February 2020), but here it lists the official name of the virus. The WHO states specifically that the naming is COVID-19 for the virus, and «the virus that causes COVID-19» to refer to the virus. It is moronic to expose the public to the scientific name of the virus. You want the public to get actual, useful and clear information on the COVID-19 disease. If you cannot get the name right, can you trust the information within?

The actual Q&A is not what is provided by the WHO on COVID-19. It probably is a translation of an old edition of the WHO COVID-19 Q&A. The current WHO COVID-19 Q&A is much better, and it should be used instead, translated into Greek.

Bonus issue on antibiotics

Let’s go back to the front page of the website, and click on 3, «Proper use of Antibiotics». The graphics conveys no information whatsoever. In red it says «The abuse of antibiotics puts us all in danger. Protect yourself with the advice of your doctor.» First, there is a typo in Greek (should have been «Η κατάχρηση των αντιβιοτικών μάς βάζει…»). Second, it does not state the obvious, that antibiotics do not work on viruses, they work on bacteria. And when you use too many antibiotics, you may get mutated bacteria, just like the mutated coronavirus of COVID-19.
Clicking on the green button for more information, leads to a long text that is 1) long, and 2) omits to say that antibiotics do not work on viruses.

Bonus issue on buying new computers

There is an emergency call to buy 90 new computers, published today (13th March 2020) with the requirement to receive the offers by Monday (16th March 2020). These are the requirements. First, they should be All-In-One computers. Second, they should have a TPM module. Third, there should be Intel i5 or better (no mention on AMD Ryzen). Fourth, they should be a primary SSD disk and for some reason a secondary disk as well, bigger than 500GB (likely they had in mind older requirements for a primary SSD disk and a secondary mechanical disk). Finally, the computers should come with Windows 10 Pro (Greek localization), although the Greek public service has already paid at least €37.100.000 for Microsoft licenses (there should be an arrangement to get a refund from the computer manufacturer because these licenses have already been paid).


The 24/7 telephone line is really important to those that need to help and should not be used for general information. A website should be used for general information, at least to those that are familiar to getting information online.

The name of the disease is COVID-19, and this should be used through out the website. The name change happened one month ago, but still the website has not been updated yet. The documentation should use COVID-19 (κόβιντ-19) throughout. It is wrong to use coronavirus (κοροναϊός), because that name refers to the whole family of viruses, that cause the seasonal flu.

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