After calling a second lockdown a last resort, Greece has ordered a majority of the country’s businesses to close and most of its residents to stay home for the next three weeks as it battles a surge in coronavirus cases.
“I’ve chosen to take drastic measures sooner rather than later,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said during a news conference announcing the restrictions.
Greece logged more than 2,600 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday alone — the highest number it’s reported on a single day since the pandemic began, Reuters reported.
Starting Thursday and for the next three weeks, all retail businesses except for pharmacies and grocery stores have been ordered to close. Primary schools will remain open, but high schools will shut. Residents will also need a permit to leave their homes.
Greece is among a growing number of European countries that are increasing restrictions on businesses and travel as a second surge of COVID-19 washes across the continent. Ireland became the first EU country to reinstate a second nationwide lockdown late last month. France, Germany, Italy, and the UK have since followed suit.
In France, residents are only permitted to leave their homes to buy food or get medical care, In Paris, specifically, an evening curfew is in place. And in Italy, bars, restaurants, gyms, and movie theaters are required to remain closed through at least Nov 24. Meanwhile, Germany has canceled its famous Nuremberg Christmas market, Christkindlesmarkt, for the first time since World War II.
Greece was among the earliest European countries to shut down, closing off significant portions of its economy from February through May. The country has so far confirmed nearly 47,000 cases of COVID-19 within its borders and seen 673 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
Europe has so far reported more than 11 million cases and more than 282,000 deaths due to COVID-19.
Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. She loves historic plaques, wandering new streets, and walking on beaches. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.
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