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With COVID-19 Jumping, Greece Edges Toward New Lockdown

Αssociated Press

A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is reflected in a puddle as he walks in central Athens, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS – Greece's New Democracy government has shut down two more districts – four so far – in a losing attempt to control the spread of COVID-19, cases rising almost 400 percent and bringing concern of another national lockdown.

Serres and Ioannina in north and northwestern Greece joined Kastoria and Kozani in keeping residents contained as more health measures went into effect, including the mandatory use of masks outdoors as well, and the suspension of all gatherings in public or private spaces, some defiance still seen.

There's also a curfew from 12.30 p.m. to 5 a.m. in hard-hit regions, including around Athens, where clubs and bars have to close but the government hasn't taken the step of shutting them down temporarily although they have the potential to be superspreader event.

Those regions now considered the top alert 4 level also are required to close courts, playgrounds, archeological sites, museums, restaurants (except take-aways) and cinemas for the time being, further crippling the arts and artists.

There was another record 1,547 cases on Oct. 28, including 51 in Ioannina and 158 in Serres, said Kathimerini.

Naxos and Rodopi rose from yellow (Level 2 - surveillance), to orange, (Level 3 - increased surveillance), which means the introduction of a curfew and the mandatory use of masks everywhere.

Greece’s most populous regional units, Attica and Thessaloniki, the country's second-largest city and major port remain at Level 3, one shy of also being locked down that would again close non-essential businesses for an indefinite period.

The government’s advisory committee on the virus is expected to propose additional measures to stem the spread of the pandemic, the paper said, including locking down Thessaloniki with worries about how it will affect a struggling economy after a 10-week closure from March to May.

Regional units of Ioannina and Serres at risk level 4 for coronavirus

The regional units of Ioannina and Serres have moved to level 4 (increased risk) of the health safety and protection map as of Thursday morning at 6:00. Among the measures taken are the mandatory use of a mask both indoors and outdoors (masks everywhere), an overnight curfew from 12:30 to 5:00 in the morning, a ban on movements outside the regional unit and a ban of all gatherings in public and private spaces.

In addition, the operation of the following is suspended:

- Courts, Prosecutors Offices, the Land Registry

- Archaeological sites, museums

- Live performances and other performing arts

- Film screenings

- Rehearsals and TV filming

- Nightclubs, bars, reception centres

- Music stages

- Restaurants (only take-away will be allowed)

- Playgrounds

- All sports

- Fitness centres

- Conferences / Exhibitions

- Amusement and theme parks

- Trade fairs

- Sunday markets and other markets