NEWS

Local lockdowns possible if rules flouted, government warns

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The government hinted on Monday that it will consider activating a plan for local lockdowns if safety protocols are not observed by the public and businesses leading to pandemic outbreaks.

Referring to noncompliance with measures, government spokesperson Aristotelia Peloni stressed that Greece cannot afford setbacks, leaving open the possibility that additional measures and even local lockdowns may be imposed. She added that she hopes that the government’s appeals will be heard, otherwise “the local outbreaks will be dealt with properly.”

With the lockdown lifted to a large degree last Friday, authorities were taken aback by weekend scenes from around Greece which resembled anything but a country still in the grip of a pandemic. These scenes included large crowds, parties in city squares, and a string of safety protocol violations, by cafes and restaurants, particularly in Attica.

Authorities are keen that these worrisome behaviors are stopped in their tracks, before they take on a general character and overturn the government’s plan, which includes the further relaxation of measures at the end of May and early June.

The alarm was sounded by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis himself during a regular briefing about the course of the pandemic at Maximos Mansion.

“Many of our compatriots seem to believe that we are done for good with the pandemic, something that is, of course, not the case,” he said. “Of course, we are seeing a significant de-escalation in the number of cases, in hospital admissions and intubations, but the pandemic is still here.” Mitsotakis said that authorities will be strict about enforcing the law as it is very important that the gradual improvement in epidemiological data continues.

“Freedom does not mean irresponsibility,” he added. 

 At the same meeting, infectious diseases expert Sotiris Tsiodras said he was concerned about the new Covid-19 variants which “are redefining the pandemic response strategies in many European countries,” and called for constant vigilance. “The epidemic continues to threaten us,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Covid-19 death toll reached 11,471 on Monday after the coronavirus claimed 56 more lives. Health authorities also confirmed 1,402 new cases, taking total infections since the start of the health crisis to 378,485.