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15 July, 2020
 
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Greece eyes gradual easing of lockdown measures

The Greek government will begin introducing a gradual return to normality next week

Kathimerini Greece Newsroom

The Greek government is working on a plan to ease some of the restrictions that have been introduced to curb the spread of the coronavirus, with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis expected to make announcements next week.

Addressing a media briefing, Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas sought to make it clear that the government is keen to introduce a gradual return to normality while shielding public health and the economy. However, measures will remain in place for the general public until at least April 27, he said. After that date, registry offices and courts will open, he said.

Small shops are expected to be permitted to open too. It remains unclear, however, what will happen with schools, though the fact that children are less susceptible to the virus is a consideration.

In any case, Petsas said, the return to normality will be “a gradual, long and targeted process to ensure there is no backsliding.” Mitsotakis is expected to set out a roadmap for easing restrictions in a televised speech to the nation early next week, he said.

Mitsotakis spoke by telephone on Tuesday with European Council President Charles Michel ahead of a European Union leaders’ summit tomorrow, with talks focusing on the economic impact of the pandemic. 

Although Greek authorities have done relatively well in containing the spread of the coronavirus in the general population, there are concerns about outbreaks in the migrant community after 150 people in a hotel hosting migrants in the Peloponnese tested positive for Covid-19. 

Health Ministry spokesman Sotiris Tsiodras said 150 of the 156 new cases were from a hotel in Kranidi, southern Greece. Of the positive cases, 148 are asylum seekers, one is a hotel employee and the other an aid worker. The new cases brought the nationwide total to 2,401, Tsiodras said, adding that another five infected people had died, pushing the death toll to 121.

As for easing restrictive measures, he said this should be done “gradually and cautiously” to avoid any possible backsliding.

The hotel in Kranidi has been quarantined and a curfew will be imposed on the town, which has a population of around 4,000, from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. for the next 14 days. Citizens will only be allowed to leave their homes to visit a doctor, a pharmacy or to shop for basic necessities. 

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Greece  |  coronavirus  |  lockdown  |  restriction  | 

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