Greece edges towards full lockdown due to Covid-19; 4 fatalities, some 230 infections

Sunday, 15 March 2020 15:14
UPD:15:15
Eurokinissi/ΣΤΕΛΙΟΣ ΜΙΣΙΝΑΣ

Στιγμιοτυπα από το κεντρο της Αθήνας,που μαθαίνει να ζει με τα έκτακτα μέτρα για την αντιμετώπιση του κορονοϊού, Παρασκευή 13 Μαρτίου 2020 (EUROKINISSI/ ΣΤΕΛΙΟΣ ΜΙΣΙΝΑΣ)

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Greece moved closer to full lockdown on Sunday due to an outbreak of the Covid-19 virus, with related deaths reaching four and the number of infected persons exceeding 230.

A new batch of measures announced on Sunday after a Cabinet meeting, chaired by Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis, includes an interruption in road, sea and air transport to neighboring Albania and North Macedonia, as well as suspending the ferry boat routes connecting Greece and Italy - the hardest hit of European countries.

At the same time, a fine of 5,000 euros will be imposed on individuals violating restrictive measures, as nearly 80 people were detained and charged with misdemeanors around the country over the weekend, mostly proprietors of beauty shops, cafes and eateries.

The transport of cargo across international borders will continue uninterrupted.

The government also announced that hotels and all types of holiday dwellings will also remain shut until the end of April, a particularly painful development for the domestic tourism industry, as Orthodox Easter this year falls on April 19, a week after the date celebrated by the Catholic church.

In extreme northeast Greece at the Kipi border post with Turkey, hundreds of lorries and their drivers were lined up for the past two days waiting to enter the neighboring country, as Turkish authorities imposed strict measures on people trying to enter the country - some two weeks after official Ankara encouraged and facilitated third country nationals attempting to illegally enter Greek territory from another frontier post, Kastanies, further to the north.

In another highly scrutinized move, Mitsotakis over the weekend spoke by phone with Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos, with press reports saying the Greek premier recommended that places of worship remain open only for individual worship and for sacraments - namely, funerals - to be conducted with a minimum of congregants.

An extraordinary Holy Synod session of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Greece will convene on Monday to decide on further preventative measures, as churches and chapels have remained opened and services conducted.  

The fourth victim of the coronavirus outbreak in Greece was identified as a 53-year-old man being treated in Thessaloniki.  

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