After the country announced the presence of a total of 203 new cases of the coronavirus in Sunday, Greece decided to take swift action and introduce new measures to combat the spread of the virus this Summer on Monday.
All the new rules reflect the country’s ongoing evaluation of epidemiological data since Greece reopened to tourists on July 1.
Sunday’s total of coronavirus detections represented the highest number reported in Greece since the outbreak of the pandemic. There has been one death on the past day, bringing the total number of those who have died with the virus in Greece to 212, a very impressive number by world standards.
The last three weeks, however, has seen a sharp increase in the number of coronavirus detections around the country.
The alternate spokesperson for the Greek government, Aristotelia Pelonias, announced on Monday that the 85th annual Thessaloniki International Trade Fair, a major event which draws attendees from all over the world, previously scheduled for September 5-13, has now been cancelled.
However, the Prime Minister will still go to Thessaloniki to deliver a speech there, as is the custom at the Fair, but this year it will be delivered to a limited audience.
Additionally, all events in Greece which are held with the attendees standing, rather than sitting, have now been banned nationwide. This includes all concerts and other musical and performance events at which the audience typically stands together in a large group.
Beginning on August 17, all air travel passengers from the nations of Sweden, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands must present a negative PCR test for the coronavirus which were performed up to 72 hours before arrival in Greece.
Beginning on the same day, it will be mandatory for all those entering Greece by way of land border crossing gates to present a negative PCR test as well — even for Greek citizens returning to the country from abroad. The test must have been performed in the country the traveler is coming from, not in Greece.
Beginning on Tuesday, the 11th of August, all bars in some regions of Greece will now have to close their doors from midnight until 7 AM. This rule will be in effect in Crete, Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, as well as the regions of Thessaloniki, Halkidiki, Larissa and Corfu.
This new ruling also applies to bars in the municipalities of Mykonos, Paros, Antiparos, Santorini, Volos, Katerina, Rhodes, Zaykynthis (Zante) and Kos. The new ban may be extended to other areas, as it is determined by ongoing research into the epidemiological data.
Beginning on August 16, Greece’s General Secretariat for Civil Protection has decreed that only 750 people per day will be allowed to enter the country through the border gate at Kakavia. The Secretariat also announced on Monday that the region of Larissa is now subject to extraordinary measures to contain the virus, including the closure of all bars from 11 PM to 7 AM the next day. Additionally, there will be no trade fairs, markets, processions or other public events there from that time onward.
Also for the Larissa region, that same authority also stipulated that masks are to be worn by all members of the public at all times from this point onward — even outdoors.
There will also be no gatherings allowed whatsoever of more than nine people in the Larissa region, for any reason, whether in public or in private homes. Only four individuals are now allowed at dinging tables, unless they are close relatives. In that case, up to six people are allowed to dine together.
The number of intubated patients in Greek ICU’s reached 22 on Sunday, which represented a large increase from from 17 the day before. Of the 203 new cases, the vast majority again were of domestic origin, with only 29 being caught at points of entry gates. Four others were picked up by voluntary testing.
Of Greece’s new total of 5,623 cases of the coronavirus, including all th one who have recovered, there are 50 cases in Halkidiki, where an outbreak occurred in an oil refinery. There were a total of 38 new cases in the Attica region while Thessaloniki reported 35 new cases and in Larissa, a total of eight new cases were diagnosed.
Nationwide, a total of 650,998 tests have been performed to detect the coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic. Only 7,274 of these samples were found positive (which includes multiple samples from the same person in some cases).
Spokeswoman Pelonias also announced that all affected businesses are now allowed to proceed with letting employees go as a result of the new measures. This decision was undertaken after consultation with the Greek Ministry of Finance.