According to officials in Greece, the current lockdown will probably stretch on into mid-December. The government is now saying that it is still too early to lift containment measures since COVID-19 is still spreading faster than the allowable rate.
The lockdown was set to be lifted on December 1 and let non-essential businesses open again for the critical Christmas revenue period. Now, those businesses which held out hope of rescuing the season may never see that potential come to pass.
Government spokesman Stelios Petsas was quoted saying tough measures will continue because it took too long for people to start obeying requirements to wear masks, stay safe social distances away, and to stay home except for permissible missions. Petsas now ways a “quasi-lockdown” just won’t do in protecting the public from the risk of spread. Greece’s Minister of Health Vassilis Kikilias told private Mega TV on Monday.
“Based on the epidemic figures, the pressure on the national health system and the spread of the disease, it is self-evident that the [lockdown] measures can’t be lifted at the end of the month.”
Greek people who wanted to travel to relatives and for season vacations will now be forced to stay at home. The government says the restrictions are slated to be lifted gradually, rather than all at once, with schools opening first. Retail store reopenings, and then restaurants and cafes would follow, according to the government spokesperson.
Greece’s Secretary of State Giorgos Gerapetritis said the government’s priority was to re-open schools as quickly as possible. Athens is also considering lifting curfew and SMS reporting restrictions.
According to yesterday’s national public health organization (EODY) data, Greece recorded 2,135 new coronavirus cases, which brings the country’s total count to 95,137, or over 20 times the number of cases at the end of the first-wave lockdown.