Surging, by Greek standards, coronavirus-related figures over the past week were cited by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Tuesday afternoon to announce a stricter lockdown in the greater Athens.
Mitsotakis again took to the national airwaves to address the nation regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
As of Thursday, all retailers in Attica prefecture will be ordered closed, while all levels of education will also close. This regime will continue until at least Feb. 28, he added.
He cited a recommendation, issued hours earlier, by a blue chip committee of epidemiologists and public health experts advising stricter measures.
Mitsotakis said two criteria were judged as necessitating the stricter measures, namely, the high number of single-day cases reported in the greater Athens area, as well as the mutations of the Covid-19 virus, also detected in higher numbers in the same region.
Mitsotakis, who has himself been at the center of controversy and sharp opposition criticism by flouting public assembly restrictions and social distancing precautions on at least two high-profile occasions, ended his address by offering words of encouragement and optimism.
" I will not hide the fact that in the upcoming two-month period the accordion of restrictions may open and close, depending on the level of the emergency...However, this is the last mile towards freedom. The state has a plan, so that by the end of spring, the most vulnerable Greek citizens will have been protected. The goal is to meet up again at a time when we are thriving and strong; and a significant step in this course of hope is for the measure that will come into effect as of Thursday to be successful."