Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is on Friday to announce a new raft of restrictions aimed at curbing the further spread of the coronavirus, after daily infections entered quadruple digits this week, as health authorities make a last-ditch effort to avert a full nationwide lockdown.
Meanwhile another three regional units – Thessaloniki, Rhodope and Larissa – went into lockdown on Friday following localized spikes in those areas. They join another four regions in northern Greece in category 4 on the official risk scale.
The new measures for other parts of the country are expected to be finalized this morning by the Health Ministry’s advisory committee for the pandemic, which convened late into Thursday night.
Among the measures being considered for regions in category 3 on the official risk scale, such as Attica, is a closing time of 9 or 10 p.m. for bars and restaurants which currently close at midnight. A public curfew, which currently runs from 12.30 to 5.30 a.m. in those regions, would begin an hour after the new closing time.
Another possible measure for category 3 areas will be a ban on movement outside the region while the mandatory use of face masks might be extended to category 1 and 2 areas. Teleworking is to be extended and all university classes conducted online.
Experts are even considering bringing back a system obliging citizens to send text messages to a government number to leave home to work, shop or visit a doctor, which was enforced during the spring lockdown, though this would come at a later date if the new round of measures does not have an impact.
The number of new coronavirus infections reported on Thursday came to 1,211, which was an improvement from Wednesday’s record of 1,547, but deaths and intubations rose. According to the National Organization for Public Health (EODY), 12 people died in the 24 hours from its last bulletin and 114 coronavirus patients were intubated in intensive care, compared to 10 deaths reported on Wednesday and 108 intubations. Thursday’s fatalities brought the death toll to 615 while the new infections brought the total since the onset of the pandemic to 35,510.
Of the new cases, 335 were traced in Attica and 275 in Thessaloniki while 51 were recorded in both Larissa and Serres, 41 in Rhodope and 30 in Kozani, Xanthi and Messinia.