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New Democracy Waffles Over More COVID-19 Measures, Lockdown

ATHENS – Greece’s twice-extended second lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of a second wave of COVID-19 could see even tighter measures if there are signs it isn’t working.

The New Democracy government may decide to impose additional restrictions, “even unexpectedly,” to limit the spread of the coronavirus if it is deemed necessary, Minister of State Giorgos Gerapetritis said.

“You cannot rule out any measure. If we need to ban activities again, we will do so if necessary,” he told SKAI radio, with uncertainty now whether schools will reopen Jan. 11 along with a click-and-collect scheme letting consumers order goods online and make reservations for store pickups.

The government has gone back-and-forth about how to handle a resurgence of the pandemic, leading the major rival SYRIZA to accuse Mitsotakis of failing to respond properly and of bringing deaths in Thessaloniki earlier by being too slow to bring a second lockdown.

As Gerapetritis spoke, Greek health authorities announced 816 new coronavirus cases for Jan. 6, far higher than the previous days, showing signs that partial easing of the lockdown over the holidays is allowing another spread.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 142,267 confirmed cases, with 5,099 deaths, including 48 on Jan. 6, with 399 people on ventilators in almost overwhelmed public hospital Intensive Care Units (ICUs.)

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