PM says ready to limit public gatherings, halt events in Attica amid rise in virus infections

PM says ready to limit public gatherings, halt events in Attica amid rise in virus infections

The Greek government is preparing to restrict public gatherings and suspend cultural events for two weeks to limit the spread of the coronavirus in the regional unit of Attica, where most new infections are recorded, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Friday. 

“I am fully prepared, following the relevant suggestion of the [expert] committee today, to take some additional measures regarding public gatherings, the suspension of cultural events for 14 days, measures that encourage teleworking in both the public and private sectors, in order to limit unnecessary commuting,” he said at the start of a regular teleconference discussing developments with the coronavirus in the country which was shown live on public broadcaster ERT.

Mitsotakis said that if people implement the measures the government has taken, the situation will improve. "But to be certain that we will do well, we must first focus on implementing the measures," he said.

He then urged citizens to uphold the health and social distancing rules that have already been announced so as to avoid taking tougher measures in the future.

“Our concern must be the protection of the elderly,” he said and appealed to senior citizens and those with underlying illnesses to be “doubly careful” when venturing outside.

He said an emphasis should be placed on the use of face masks in public transport.

Mitsotakis expressed concern over the rising number of intubations in the country – which rose to 69 on Thursday – but added that the pressure “is not so big” yet in intensive care units.

Health authorities on Thursday announcing 359 new cases and nine new deaths.

Thursday's 359 new cases – 212 of which were recorded in Attica – brought the nationwide total of infections since the pandemic hit Greece in February to 14,400 while the nine new fatalities pushed the death toll up to 325.

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