Greece Tightens Curbs to Slow Spread of Covid-19 Infections

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Greece is taking further steps to contain the spread of the coronavirus after a surge this week saw daily cases surpass 1,000 for the first time since March.

“We must act now before intensive care units bend under the weight of endangered lives,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a national televised address Saturday. The premier announced that the use of masks will be compulsory in all indoor and outdoor spaces regardless of the level of transmission risk.

Greece will be divided into two zones — high risk and under surveillance — with northern Greece and the capital, Athens, and its region in the first category. Bars, restaurants, museums, theaters and gyms will close in high risk zones, while a nighttime curfew will be moved forward by half an hour to midnight. The measures will come into force on Nov. 3 and remain in place for the rest of the month.

Industry, retail stores, schools, hotels and hair salons will remain open across the country. The private and public sectors must enforce working from home for a minimum of half of all employees, while universities will only operate virtually, Mitsotakis said.

The government will introduce further economic support measures worth 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) such as loans, special financial benefits and easier terms for payment of tax and social security obligations.

“With a robust plan in November, we will be able to have a more optimistic December with an as smooth as possible social life and more activity for the Christmas and holiday market season,” Mitsotakis said.

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