Reports: Greek govt considering clampdown on movement in public; partial exodus to provinces recorded over past week

Sunday, 22 March 2020 16:50
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Greece's prime minister will again take to the airwaves at 6 p.m. (16.00 GMT) on Sunday, with media reports rife over the weekend that the government is considering additional restrictive measures against the movement of citizens in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.

Television footage over the past week showed lines of cars exiting the two main urban areas in the country, the greater Athens agglomeration of municipalities and northern Thessaloniki, towards the provinces, beaches with numerous people and large groups congregating in parks and open spaces.

While Greece remains at a relatively low level in terms of confirmed Covid19-related deaths (13) and confirmed infections, now exceeding 500, public health officials have strenuously warned that the height of the outbreak may not have peaked in the east Mediterranean country.

A relevant civil defense minister, Nikos Hardalias, again warned on Saturday that a "general lockdown" could be considered against all non-essential movement in public. If such a prospect arises, the Mitsotakis government would have to define what "non-essential" is in this case.

Even more ominously, Hardalis revealed that top armed forces officers are now participating in preparation and contingency plans.

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