PM Mitsotakis Announces Thessaloniki Lockdown; Shops and Schools to Remain Open

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday. Credit: Greek Government

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on Thursday that another three regions will be placed on lockdown, including Greece’s second-largest city of Thessaloniki, due to the recent spike in the number of coronavirus infections.

“You see what is happening all over the world, especially in Europe, he stated in a teleconference with his ministers today. “We are facing a second wave, which is more aggressive than the one we faced in March and April.”

The ancient city in Macedonia is now at “Level 4”, reflecting the risk of the highest level of coronavirus infection there. The PM further stated that he would be sharing a month-long “action plan” on Friday to help combat the rising tide of infections nationwide.

The regions of Larissa and Rodopi will also go into lockdown, according to authorities. At a teleconference with his ministers on Thursday, the PM said “As in the first phase, when we took action early on, we must take tougher measures again and earlier than other European countries to prevent the worst, save lives and reduce the pressure on the health system.”

The wearing of face coverings will now be mandatory both indoors and outdoors for these three regions, along with the institution of a curfew from 12:30 to 5 AM. However, the Prime Minister stressed that, in contrast to the lockdown in the Spring, shops and schools will remain open.

“We now know from the tracking processes which economic activities cause a problem of rapid spread of the virus and which do not cause such a large spread of the virus,” the Prime Minister explained, “so we will adjust our plan for next month to the real data, which we have at our disposal.”

Saying that the next two weeks would be “crucial” in the campaign against the virus, and urging each Ministry to do its utmost to enforce the measures, PM Mitsotakis stated “I will say again that our goal remains to avoid a universal lockdown, so we will proceed to further strengthen the targeted restrictions.”

The Greek premier added that at present it appears the country is two to three weeks behind the rest of Europe regarding the virulence of the second wave of the pandemic.

The Greek leader added that “We will have the opportunity to discuss these issues today at an extraordinary European Council, to see to what extent we can agree on a trans-European system of action. Until that happens, however, the measures that each country takes are the national responsibility of each government.

“But I have to tell you,” he concluded, “that the pressure on the health system is greater than ever and we must, as in the first phase where we took action early, take stricter measures again and earlier than other European countries to prevent the worst, to save human lives and reduce the pressure exerted on the Health System.”