NEWS

Lockdown may be broadened nationwide

lockdown-may-be-broadened-nationwide

The government is considering broadening nationwide the full lockdown announced for Thessaloniki on Monday if a raft of new restrictions that come into effect on Tuesday morning do not flatten a spike in coronavirus infections, Kathimerini understands. 

Amid growing concerns about the rising number of patients in intensive care, government spokesman Stelios Petsas on Monday announced a full lockdown for both Thessaloniki and Serres – to apply from this morning for two weeks. 

Citizens in both those regional units will be required to send an SMS to the General Secretariat for Civil Protection, citing their reason for leaving their home, a measure enforced in the spring lockdown during the first wave of the pandemic. 

A public curfew will apply from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. During those times, people will only be able to leave the house for health or work reasons, Petsas said. All non-essential flights to and from Thessaloniki will be suspended. 

The decision to impose a lockdown on Thessaloniki came after a sharp spike in infections over the weekend – 530 cases on Friday, 839 on Saturday and 449 on Sunday. 

The government is ready to roll out the “Thessaloniki model” across the country if similar outbreaks occur, Kathimerini understands. There is particular concern about whether greater Athens might have “hidden infections” due to its large population.

Monday’s announcement came after Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Saturday heralded new restrictions including a midnight to 5 a.m. public curfew that is to apply nationwide from 6 a.m. on Tuesday along with the mandatory use of face masks in all public areas. In higher-risk areas, including greater Athens and Thessaloniki, bars and restaurants will close along with cinemas and theaters. 

Meanwhile there is growing concern about rising pressure on state hospitals. On Monday, the total number of patients with Covid-19 who are intubated rose to 153 while occupancy rates in intensive care units are at 60 percent nationwide. The situation is particularly difficult in Thessaloniki, where Monday only 28 of hospital ICU beds were available, a rate of 33 percent. 

Authorities announced 1,152 new infections on Monday, raising the total to 42,080, while there were seven new fatalities, pushing the death toll to 642.