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Stricter Lockdown Measures Announced in Greece

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Credit: Greek Reporter

Greece’s strict lockdown will become even more draconian starting Sunday. Greek Government Spokesman Stelios Petsas announced a set of new, even more stringent anti-virus measures for the country on Saturday.
With the hopes of opening schools, closed across the country since mid-November, on January 11, Greece will return to a strict lockdown starting 6:00 AM Sunday.
The new measures will be in effect until Monday, January 11, when the country’s epidemiological situation will be assessed again.
Seeking to add a much-needed boost to the economy, officials announced the opening of bookstores, seasonal holiday stores, and hair and nail salons in December.
Additionally, a curbside service was put in place, allowing customers to order goods online or through the phone and then pick them up from the store at a designated time.
Starting Sunday, even this curbside service will end, and all non-essential businesses, even those open for the holidays, will be closed.
To leave their homes, Greeks still must send an SMS to a government hotline number 13033 that includes their reason for movement.
Currently, the country is under a curfew from 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM, and only those who are going to or from work or have an emergency may break it.
From Sunday on, this curfew will run from 9:00 PM  to 5:00 AM, as it was in the beginning of the country’s lockdown in November.
Churches will remain completely closed during the period, and the traditional celebration of the Epiphany on January 7, the Blessing of the Waters, will not take place.
The tradition involves swimmers diving into bodies of water to retrieve a cross that has been blessed and thrown into the depths by a Greek Orthodox priest.
Services for the Epiphany will take place out of doors, and without the faithful present.
According to Petsas, the decision to return to a stricter lockdown was made by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis himself. By enacting the new measures, Mitsotakis hopes to prevent any stress on the nation’s healthcare system after the holidays, allowing schools at all levels to open safely on January 11.
Despite the nationwide lockdown in place in Greece since early November, cases have not reduced as quickly as officials hoped.
“Unfortunately, around 2,500 people spent Christmas in Covid units of the hospital, while more than 400 people with the virus are being treated in ICUs,” Petsas noted Saturday.
The country’s ICUs are still facing immense pressure at the sheer number of patients requiring intensive treatments, such as intubation. Some ICUs in the country are operating at near capacity.

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