ATHENS

In the wake of a recent surge in coronavirus infections, a full lockdown will come into effect in Greece’s Thessaloniki and Serres cities from Tuesday.

Stelios Petsas, a government spokesperson, said the decision was taken in view of the spike in COVID-19 cases witnessed over the last weekend.

The official was referring to the 530, 839, and 449 infections registered in the two cities this past Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, respectively.

“While the figures show that Greece is still among the countries with a better epidemiological picture, there has recently been exponential growth in coronavirus cases in our country,” Petsas said at a news conference on Monday.

“The condition in Thessaloniki, [and] in some neighboring regions, is extremely serious for public health. Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias visited the city and an emergency plan has been set in motion.”

Starting Tuesday, a curfew will be imposed from 9 p.m. (1900GMT) to 5 a.m. (0300GMT) for the next 15 days in Thessaloniki and Serres.

Citizens will need to inform the General Secretariat for Civil Protection via text message if they need to leave their houses, a measure that was also in place during the first lockdown in March.

High schools will be closed but other schools will remain open, while university classes will continue online.

The lockdown comes days after Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced plans to tighten coronavirus safety measures across Greece.

In a televised address on Saturday, he said there will be restrictions on movement and bars, cafes, cinemas, gyms, and museums in high-risk areas will be shut down.

Greece recorded 1,152 more coronavirus cases on Monday, 96 of them linked to known clusters and 33 identified at entry points to the country, the National Public Health Organization (EODY) said.

The country’s overall count stands at 42,080, including 642 fatalities, according to latest data.

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