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Greek Police Step Up Enforcement of COVID-19 Health Measures

With one police chief on the island of Poros removed for failing to enforce measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 – with cases rising across the country – Greek police said they will crack down harder on offenders.

Until recently, when more people began complying with the health protocols, there was widespread defiance of requirements to wear masks and stay at least 1.5 meters (4.92 feet) apart, especially in supermarkets and gathering places.

The Coronavirus has also been spread by tourists allowed into the country starting in July as the New Democracy government wants to counter COVID-19's damage to the economy, but most new cases have come from people not complying with protective health measures, officials said.

With a top infectious diseases expert saying the country is already in a second wave after a March 23 lockdown held down the number of cases and deaths before gradually being lifted May 4, the virus is expected to spread again.

The Hellenic Police (ELAS) said they carried out 54,685 inspections on Aug. 9 and Aug. 20 but reported only 30 violations committed by businesses concerning the non-use of masks by staff, exceeding limits on the number of people allowed on premises, and distances between tables. It wasn't said whether any fines were issued or closures.

In total, 409 members of the public were fined for not wearing a mask in designated areas, the penalty being 150 euros ($176.91) for each offense although there remained evidence of people not wearing them as the government extended the requirement to more places.

A total of 3,367 non-mask violations have been recorded since the beginning of August, or 336.7 per day with inspectors reaching out more to islands where wild parties have been blamed for the spread, 15 violations found on Naxos where four stores were temporarily closed.

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