Greece Orders Nationwide Lockdown to Curb COVID Surge

ATHENS, Greece (Reuters) —
A pedestrian wearing a protective face mask walks on a crosswalk, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Athens, Greece, Oct. 31. (Reuters/Costas Baltas)

Greece ordered a nationwide lockdown on Thursday for three weeks to help contain a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

“I’ve chosen to take drastic measures sooner rather than later,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said.

Under the new countrywide restrictions to take effect from Saturday, retail businesses will be shut with the exception of supermarkets and pharmacies. Civilians will need a time-slot permit to venture outdoors.

Primary schools will stay open, but high schools will shut.

The country has reported fewer cases than most in Europe, mainly due to an early nationwide lockdown that it imposed when the pandemic broke out in February. It started unwinding those restrictions in May.

Since early October it has seen a surge in infections and has been re-imposing curbs. The resurgence was “particularly aggressive,” chief government scientific adviser Sotiris Tsiodras said, speaking alongside Mitsotakis.

Greece registered 2,646 infections on Wednesday, the highest daily tally since its first case surfaced, bringing the total number of cases to 46,892. So far, 673 people have died of the disease.

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