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Greece Will Further Loosen COVID-19 Lockdown Measures

Αssociated press

Women walk their dogs in front of the ancient Acropolis hill with the Parthenon temple, in central Athens, Friday, May 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS – An array of more new openings for places required to be shut during a lockdown aimed at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus will be allowed on May 18 for the third straight week, ahead of restaurants opening on May 25.

The third phase will see travel allowed between different regions on mainland Greece and the first ferry services to Crete with services to other islands conditionally set for May 25 unless there's a resurgence of the virus.

Intercity buses and train services will resume as well, allegedly with social distancing supposed to limit the number of passengers but with some buses operating in Athens showing signs of being packed.

Parks, zoos and archaeological sites will open too along with be a gradual resumption of domestic flights, which had until now been operating in limited numbers while on ferries there will be a limit halving the number of passengers, or 55 percent if cabins are available, said Kathimerini.

Before boarding, passengers will have their temperatures taken while they will also be required to complete a so-called “health status” questionnaire and while on board are supposed to be at least 1.5 meters (4.92 feet) from each other with no explanation how that could be enforced.

Only one person will be allowed in each cabin, except in the case of disabled people and their helpers or families comprising spouses or first-degree relatives in which case four will be allowed, the report said.

The use of masks by passengers and crew members is mandatory. There must also be an empty sea between each passenger while passengers suspected of infection will be isolated in a special area on the ship and put off at the next port where there is a health facility that can handle them.

But a pan on passenger flights to and from Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands has been extended until May 31, as well as for non-European Union citizens, and to June 14 for flights to and from Albania and North Macedonia.

The lockdown began March 23 before a single death and was credited with holding down the number or cases and fatalities, making Greece among the best performers in the world in handling the pandemic and its effects.