Ekathimerini: Lockdown ‘Strongest Weapon’ Against Virus Surge in Athens
Restricting public circulation by imposing temporary, localized lockdowns is the “strongest weapon we have” to successfully contain the surge of new coronavirus infections in the Greek capital, and especially in the city center, infectious disease expert Nikos Sipsas said on Tuesday.
“We are just one step before a lockdown,” Sipsas, who is a member of the expert committee advising the government on its response to the pandemic, told Skai television.
Athens, he warned a day after Attica accounted for 174 of the country’s record 453 new coronavirus cases, is already labeled code orange and the “situation could deteriorate at any moment.”
“We need to act preemptively and preventatively,” Sipsas said, warning that if measures that went into effect on Monday do not show signs of paying off soon, localized lockdowns will inevitably follow.
“The lockdowns will be periodical, imposed for two weeks until the epidemic curve starts to flatten and then for another two weeks if necessary,” Sipsas said.
Police launch crowding crackdown on Athens squares
Police patrols have been stepped up in Athens since Sunday night in a bid to prevent revelers gathered at public squares from flouting physical distancing rules amid a spike in coronavirus infections in the Greek capital.
Officers are using bullhorns and sirens to disperse crowds of mostly young men and women gathering at public squares in popular parts of the city after the closing of bars at midnight and keeping the party going into the early hours with alcoholic drinks purchased from kiosks and convenience stores.
The police is focusing its attention on public squares in popular nightlife districts like Exarchia, Pangrati, Gazi and Kypseli in central Athens, as well as in the suburbs of Kallithea, Nea Smyrni and Agia Paraskevi, where after-midnight crowding has been reported in recent weeks.
Restrictions on the opening hours of kiosks and convenience stores are also being pondered, while authorities have warned that unless citizens start acting more responsibly to curb the surge in new Covid-19 cases, localized lockdowns may have to be implemented in the worst affected parts of the city./Ekathimerini.com
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