Greek PM declares partial coronavirus lockdown

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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced a one-month partial lockdown on the coronavirus on Saturday and closed restaurants and other leisure activities in Athens and other major cities from Tuesday.

“We must act now, before the intensive care units collapse under the strain of people at risk,” Mitsotakis said in a televised address.

“The virus attacks in waves and we have to adapt quickly,” he said.

Greece has registered over 37,000 coronavirus cases since February, including over 1,600 on Friday. As of August, the virus caused 620 deaths.

The Prime Minister said the lockdown would close restaurants, cafes, clubs, cinemas, museums and gyms in the hardest hit areas, but would not affect retail businesses and schools to ease the blow to the economy.

In addition to the capital, the latest restrictions apply to most of the major cities in Northern Greece, including Thessaloniki, Larissa and Ioannina.

The rest of the country is subject to a curfew from midnight to 5 a.m. in addition to the mandatory use of masks indoors, Mitsotakis said.

In contrast to a nationwide lockdown imposed in March, movement between regions is not restricted for the time being, he added.

Hotels and hairdressing salons may also be operated.

“A total lockdown would harm the economy and society,” said Mitsotakis.

The government had already imposed a night curfew from 12:30 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. in Athens, Thessaloniki and other areas on October 22.

This followed localized lockdowns in the northern regions of Kozani and Kastoria earlier this month.

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