NEWS

String of regional lockdowns feared

string-of-regional-lockdowns-feared

Just a few days after the partial easing of restrictive measures to contain coronavirus cases, the pandemic has surged again in Western Attica, prompting immediate emergency action, with Deputy Minister of Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias announcing a ban on movement from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. and the suspension of click-and-collect services at retail stores in the municipalities of Elefsina, Aspropyrgos and Mandra-Eidyllia.

The move came as health authorities and government officials are sounding the the alarm, urging members of the public to act responsibly during the holidays, noting the precariousness of the situation.

Among the measures which are effective as of Friday morning in the three municipalities is the immediate shutdown of hair salons, bookstores and flea markets. As announced, the measures will last seven days initially.

In addition, church services of all denominations in said municipalities are suspended – with the exception of funerals, which will be allowed with the attendance of close relatives numbering no more than 10. Access to places of worship will be allowed for individual prayer.

Moreover, rapid tests will be conducted in these areas at regular intervals. The country’s main healthcare provider, EOPYY, and units of the General Secretariat for Civil Protection and the Armed Forces will carry out strict checks on businesses in order to ensure that they are compliant with the measures.

According to sources from the Civil Protection Ministry, the new outbreak of the pandemic in Western Attica has been attributed to the movements of groups of people living in the region who sell items in open markets, but also to the fact that there are many industrial businesses that require the physical presence of employees.

Hardalias announced the measures from northern Greece Thursday during his visit to areas in Western Macedonia, such as Kozani and Kilkis, which have also reported a surge in cases.

“The situation remains particularly difficult as the viral load is not decreasing despite the measures that are being enforced,” Hardalias said.

Minister of Civil Protection Michalis Chrysochoidis, who visited the northern city of Kozani, which is also struggling to cope, described “a very critical situation” in the region.

“The phenomenon is becoming endemic. The city and the region have been suffering from the coronavirus for many months,” he said.