Declaring that Greece faces a tough few months ahead as daily coronavirus infections broke a new record, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday heralded new measures to contain the second wave of the pandemic.
The restrictions, which Mitsotakis announced in a televised address, include a curfew from 12.30 a.m. to 5 a.m. in all areas categorized as level 3 or 4 (orange or red) in a tiered system ranking the level of transmission of coronavirus. (Those who work at night or are responding to an emergency are exempt).
Both Attica and Thessaloniki are in Level 3, while Kastoria and Kozani, in northern Greece, are in Level 4, the highest level of risk. The restrictions are to come into effect at 6 a.m. on Saturday.
The second measure Mitsotakis announced was the mandatory use of face masks in all public areas, enclosed or open.
“I want to be clear, the next few months are expected to be difficult,” Mitsotakis said. “As a general lockdown is not among my choices, other measures are needed – smarter ones, more targeted and, ultimately, more effective.”
The aim of the night-time curfews, Mitsotakis said, is to curb gatherings that have helped spread the virus. He appealed to young people, who have accounted for the majority of new infections in recent days, to show maturity and rise to the occasion.
“At this time it would be good for you young people to turn your drive into responsibility,” the premier said, noting that, “there will be less enjoyment, perhaps, for a while, but there will be more health for a long time.”
Mitsotakis also heralded an intensification of inspections on businesses that are violating health protocols put in place to curb the spread of the virus, adding that remote working will be expanded further wherever this is possible.
His speech came shortly after health authorities announced a new daily record in coronavirus cases – 882 in 24 hours. The new infections pushed the nationwide total to 28,216, while 15 new fatalities were recorded, edging the death toll up to 549. A total of 90 Covid-19 patients were intubated.
Of Thursday’s new cases, 290 were in Attica and 188 in Thessaloniki, with 65 in Serres, 40 in Larissa, 23 in Ioannina, 15 in Kastoria and 10 in Kozani.