Greece’s strict lockdown will be in effect for at least another week, Deputy Minister for Citizen Protection Nikos Chardalias announced on Friday.
The national lockdown, in place since early November, had already been extended to Monday, January 11 earlier in the week.
After an evaluation of the current epidemiological situation in the country, however, it has been extended even further, until at least Monday, January 18.
Greek elementary schools will be reopening under strict coronavirus measures as of Monday, January 11, Chardalias stated Friday. Special education schools will also be allowed to reopen on that date. There will be staggered arrival and departure times to ensure as few interactions as possible between individuals will occur.
Under the current lockdown measures, all non-essential businesses are closed to customers, only operating on a delivery basis.
The “click-away” curbside pickup option, which was available during the holidays, is no longer allowed.
Hair and nail salons will also remain closed.
To leave their homes, Greeks still must send an SMS to a government hotline number 13033 that includes their reason for movement and the use of masks is mandatory everywhere when not in the home.
Currently, the country is under a curfew from 9:00 PM to 5:00 AM, and only those who are going to or from work or have an emergency may break it.
Greece records 721 cases, 386 intubations under lockdown
A total of 721 Covid-19 cases were diagnosed in Greece on Friday, which is 211 more than the 510 cases that were recorded in the country just one day earlier, on Thursday.
Tragically, 49 people with the virus passed away in the country over the past 24 hour period, which is two more than those recorded yesterday.
Currently, 386 patients with Covid-19 are intubated in Greece, five fewer than those who were intubated in the country on Wednesday.
A large portion of Thursday’s cases were diagnosed in the areas surrounding Greece’s two largest urban centers — Athens and Thessaloniki.
In Attica, home to the capital city of Athens, there were 252 cases, 78 of which were diagnosed in the center of Athens. A total of 94 new cases were recorded in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city.
In total, 143,494 cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in the country since the beginning of the pandemic, including all those who have recovered from the virus.
Of this total, 5,579 are associated with foreign travel, and 43,251 are associated with contact with a known case.
Of the 386 patients intubated currently, 85.2% are over the age of 70 or suffer from preexisting conditions. Their median age is 68, and 265 of the patients are male.
A total of 950 patients have been discharged from ICUs around the country since the beginning of the pandemic.
The 49 new deaths recorded on Friday bring the total number of fatalities in the country to 5,159. Of all those who lost their lives after suffering from the virus, a total of 3,072 have been male.
The median age of those who passed away with Covid-19 is 79, and 95.5% of them were over the age of 70 or suffered from underlying health issues.
Seven-Day quarantine for foreign arrivals reinstated
All those entering Greece from foreign countries— including those of the EU — must self-isolate where they are first planning to stay, as listed on their Passenger Locator Form (PLF).
This will be for a duration of seven days — or for the entire duration of their visit if their stay there is expected to be less than one week.
All travelers entering the country will also have to submit to a rapid coronavirus test as soon as they arrive at the airport if they are chosen at random to do so.
If their test shows up positive, the traveler must stay in quarantine in the location given on their PLF (available at the website travel.gov.gr) for two weeks.
All travelers from the UK will be tested upon arrival and then once again seven days later. If they are found to be positive at that time, they will be required to stay in quarantine for another seven days in that same location. These added regulations are because of the heightened presence of the virus variant in the UK at this time.
The tightened restrictions will last at least through January 21.