Greece restricted movement to within 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) radius from home on Thursday in a new effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Daily cases have continued on an upward trend, as the country recorded 2,703 instances of the virus on Wednesday, the highest number of cases diagnosed so far in 2021.
Deputy Minister for Civil Protection & Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias announced that until March 16, citizens will not be allowed to travel to beyond 2 kilometers from one’s home for supermarkets, food stores and other essential goods shops (text message permit #2) or for banks (text message permit #3).
Similarly, personal exercise (text message permit #6) or pet walking must be carried out close to one’s home; it will not be possible to carry out these activities beyond the limits of one’s municipality, the minister added.
Regarding citizens who claim they are paying a home visit to a person in need to offer assistance (text message permit #4), they will have to be able to provide clarifications in case of a random street check by authorities.
“We stay at home, in our neighborhood, and when we have to go out, we do so within the smallest possible distance”, stressed Hardalias.
Additionally, as of Thursday also, Attica Region and Thessaloniki Region will be classified as areas carrying a very high epidemiological risk, joined by the following regions:
Achaia, Argolis, Arkadia, Arta, Boeotia, Chios, Corinth, Etoloakarnania, Evia (except Skyros island), Fthiotida, Heraklion (in Crete), Larissa, Lefkada (except Meganisi), Rhodes, Samos, Thesprotia, and the municipality of Kalymnos.
The overnight curfew in these areas until March 18 will start at 19:00 to 05:00, excepting Attica and Thessaloniki Regions, where the curfew will stay at remain 21:00-05:00.
Hardalias also reminded the public they were not allowed to loiter in parks, marinas, open sports areas.
Spike in coronavirus admissions to hospitals
The rate of hospital admissions during the past few days shows that “the health system has exceeded its limits both in infrastructure and in human resources,” Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias said on Wednesday.
“In terms of Attica Region, the pressure on the National Health System has hit high-alarm levels,” he added, commenting on hospital admissions that saw a 36.33 percent rise within 24 hours.
Kikilias noted that “younger people are reaching ventilation stage, despite the fact they have no underlying conditions.”
He said the British strain of SARS-CoV-2 was spreading in the general population “at very high rates, regardless of geographical area, gender or age group.”
Speaking of vaccinations, Kikilias said that by the end of March it is expected that 1.7 million will have been carried out.
He added that the AstraZeneca shot will be available for over-65-year-olds in Greece and reminded that April will see a great rise in vaccine deliveries by Pfizer, which has committed to 1 million doses in that month.