Athens, Jan 9 Greece will extend the nationwide lockdown by another week to January 18 to cope with the new wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, Nikos Hardalias, Deputy Minister for Civil Protection and Crisis Management, announced.
The second lockdown in Greece started on November 7, 2020 and was initially scheduled to end on November 30, 2020. However, as the rising numbers of new infections, deaths and intubated patients put huge strains on the national healthcare system, the lockdown has been extended four times, Xinhua news agency reported on Friday.
Only elementary schools and kindergartens will reopen across Greece. All other students will have classes online.
Retail shops, hairdressers' salons, bookshops and places of worship will remain closed, Hardalias told a press briefing broadcast on national broadcaster ERT.
"We all acknowledge that lockdown has a significant impact on psychology and economy. However, it has contributed significantly to controlling the further spread of the virus, as shown by data," Hardalias said.
A night curfew continues to be in force from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Greek citizens are still allowed to leave their homes for work or health reasons, to assist a person in need, exercise, walk a pet, shop for necessities, or attend a funeral by notifying authorities by SMS or bearing a signed declaration. Restrictions on travelling outside of home prefectures will remain in force.
As of Friday until January 21, all passengers arriving in Greece on flights from foreign airports, including European Union member states, are placed in a seven-day quarantine, instead of a three-day one applied for the Christmas and New Year holiday season, according to an e-mailed press release issued from the Civil Aviation Authority earlier on Friday.
From now on, lockdown measures and restrictions will be re-examined and announced on a week-by-week basis, Hardalias stressed.
On Friday, the National Public Health Organization announced 721 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total confirmed infections to 143,494 since February 26, 2020 when Greece registered its first case.
Furthermore, another 49 patients have died since Thursday, taking the death toll to 5,195 in the country.
( With inputs from IANS )
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