NEWS

Time limits on duration of movements mulled by Greek government

A worker in a protective suit disinfects a room in a nursing home, during a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease, in Ioannina, Greece, Monday.

TAGS: Coronavirus, Economy

The Greek government is reportedly mulling the introduction of limits to the amount of time that people leave their homes so as to further curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus, Kathimerini understands.

Even though no official announcements have been made, the idea is reportedly gaining traction within the government as Easter approaches.

Deputy Citizens’ Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias hinted at what might be in the pipeline, saying that one cannot go out for an unlimited time.

Meanwhile, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said Monday that people should be aware that they won’t be celebrating Easter the way they are used to this year.

“We will not have Easter in the village, we will not cook in our yards and we will not visit our churches,” he said in what was seen as part of a government effort to prepare public opinion for an extension of the “We stay home” mandate at least until the first 10 days of May.

Petsas nonetheless denied that new measures were being considered but called for the strict observation of the restrictions that are already in place.

While the fiscal cost of the measures in March and April already stands at 6.8 billion euros, the ministers of finance and development, Christos Staikouras and Adonis Georgiadis, Monday announced an expansion of support measures, with the number of workers receiving the 800 euros emergency benefit rising to 1.7 million. This means the measure impacts 81 percent of the private sector, 76 percent of businesses and 700,000 self-employed professionals.

According to reports, the extension of the measures is not due to any optimistic prediction that the crisis will end soon, but is rather based on the fact that it has been deemed necessary to support a large range of workers. With regard to the state’s 36.6-billion-euro safety cushion, the government is adamant that it does not intend to use it.

At the same time, infectious disease expert and government adviser Sotiris Tsiodras confirmed Monday that the death toll from Covid-19 has risen to 43, adding that new reported infections came to 56, down from Sunday’s 95. The total number of confirmed cases in Greece stood at 1,212 Monday, he said, adding that 72 people are intubated or in intensive care.

While hailing the drop in new cases, Tsiodras also described the disease as “insidious” and added that the situation remains “uncertain,” while Hardalias cautioned the public too, saying that “the days are getting better, the weather is improving and the need to go out is increasing. That would be a mistake. This helps the disease.”

Hardalias added that the Public Power Corporation plant in Ptolemaida, northern Greece, is being shut down for 30 days to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus in Kozani, one of the regions that has been hardest hit by the epidemic.

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