Authorities on Thursday placed the regional unit of Kozani in northern Greece under lockdown after categorizing it as level 4, or red, in a tiered system ranking the level of transmission of coronavirus and the potential for its spread.
Kozani was the first area to be inducted into the red tier, indicating the highest risk level for virus transmission, and is the first to enter lockdown during the second wave of the pandemic.
From Friday until October 29, a raft of restrictions will apply in the area. These include the compulsory use of face masks everywhere, a ban on public and private gatherings and a ban on travel outside the region. Shops, gyms, courts, restaurants, cinemas, museums and archaeological sites will close.
“We are in a very critical phase of the pandemic,” Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias said. “The activation of the level 4 alert for Kozani rings alarm bells for all of us, across the whole country,” he said.
The alert level in Kozani rose, he said, due to the appearance of dozens of small infection “clusters” in the region.
On Thursday alone, 22 new infections were reported in Kozani, with more than 200 active cases in the area.
There were also concerns about the general course of the pandemic, with new cases exceeding the 400 mark again and new deaths in the double digits again.
The National Organization for Public Health (EODY) announced 453 new infections, 207 of them in Attica, and 13 new deaths, bringing the nationwide total of cases to 23,947 and the death toll to 482. A total of 82 patients with Covid-19 were intubated.
Gkikas Magiorkinis, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Athens University, said that the spike in deaths was “the result of the activity we saw with the virus 15 days ago.”
He said the fatalities were all people aged over 70 with underlying ailments such as dementia, diabetes or heart or lung problems.