Hardalias: No Provision in Restriction Measures to "Visit Relatives for Easter"


Civil Protection Deputy Minister for Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Sotiris Dimitropoulos)

ATHENS - The restrictive measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus and the resulting Covid-19 disease are as valid as ever, with no exceptions, for Greek Easter (April 19), Civil Protection Deputy Minister for Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the daily briefing after epidemiologist Sotiris Tsiodras, Hardalias referred to the list of reasons allowed to leave one's home, and said "going to the homes of relatives is not included." He reiterated that the measures are in effect as already announced until April 27.

He spoke of the continuous checks at airports of arrivals from abroad, and the stringent controls introduced for the Greek Orthodox Holy Week at major roadways. In the last four days, he said, 236 drivers had had their license plates removed for violations of intercity travel. In addition, two foreign nationals who had come to Greece from abroad were arrested when they tried to leave a hotel they were quarantined in south of Athens, fined 5,000 euros each and their embassies notified.

In Thessaly, "a wide-ranging operation is ongoing", Hardalias said, with checks at all Roma settlements in the greater Larissa area and beyond. In Ptolemaida, western Macedonia, an open-air market had been shut down for 10 days for not observing social distancing.

Hardalias showed irritation at persistent press questions over when the decision to start relaxing measures would be announced. He said that "April 27 is not a random date we picked - it's based on specific scientific reasoning," and added that there isn't enough information yet to allow relaxing the measures.

"The incoming data collected on a daily basis will guide us as to what to do, and, mainly, when to do it," the minister said, asking people again to remain vigilant and observe the measures during Easter.