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Call for Mandatory Universal COVID-19 Masks in Greece

Αssociated Press

A pedestrian wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus walks at Ermou Street, Athens main shopping area, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS - As a prosecutor is readying to go after groups urging people not to wear masks during the COVID-19 pandemic, a top infectious diseases expert said they should be made obligatory both indoors and outside.

That came as the Coronavirus is spiking almost out of control during a soaring second wave, the New Democracy government on Sept. 21 requiring the wearing of masks in public gathering spots outdoors but only for two weeks so far.

Speaking to SKAI TV Skai, Marios Lazanas said a scentific committee advising the government on the pandemic has how, however, talked about a second lockdown that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is reluctant to do, fearing another big hit on a faltering economy.

“A lockdown is financially painful. What is required is the tightening of measures with mandatory use of the face mask indoors and outdoors,” Lazanas, who is a member of the committee, said, adding that it's cheap and effective although masks cost about $20 for a package of 50 which go fast.

“If there are 4 or 5 people without a mask, isn't it that a gathering? What's wrong with wearing a mask?” he asked, the government measures still allowing larger gatherings without explaining why the virus can't spread among them.

He said public transport, the buses, trams, railroads, and metro is especially dangerous because of the high concentration of people, calling for more vehicles to be added to lessen crowding.

He also said more people, as they had during a 10-week lockdown that began in March and began being gradually lifted in May, should work remotely from home if their jobs allow that, the government wanting a 40 percent rate.