Greece PM orders full lockdown in Athens after ‘worrying’ 1,526 cases

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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Tuesday announced a full lockdown in the capital Athens to curb a surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.

The new restrictions in Athens, where half of the country’s population of 11 million lives, include the closure of non-essential shops and schools from Feb. 11 until the end of the month, Mitsotakis said in a televised address to the nation. 

Authorities registered 1,526 infections on Tuesday, more than double the number recorded a day earlier – half of them in the wider Athens area, with COVID-19 related deaths reaching 6,017 since the coronavirus was first detected.

The Prime Minister added that the new measures will be further specified by those in charge tomorrow Wednesday.

“The goal is to always be one step ahead of the virus. And this tactic was effective in the last ban in January,” Mitsotakis said.

Photo: Reuters

“Today, however, the danger is reappearing. Not in the form of thousands of sick and deaths, as in other European countries, but with two facts that worry us greatly.

“On the one hand, the increase of hospitalizations in Attica where the health structures are gradually filling up. And, on the other hand, the mutations of the virus that seem to accelerate it’s transmissibility.”

Greece has administered more than 400,000 inoculations so far with the Pfizer/BionTech and Moderna vaccines and is due to start vaccinating people aged 60-64 with the AstraZeneca shots on Feb. 15.

Referring to the ongoing vaccination program, Mitsotakis said that “we know that from April we will be in much better position. But now we must prevent the danger.”

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