ATHENS

The Greek deputy minister of civil protection and crisis management in a press conference on Tuesday said the country should learn to live with face masks, after announcing that the mandatory use of masks will be extended into more closed public places.

“We are going to have to learn to live with the use of masks,” said Nikos Hardalias.

The minister in his weekly briefing on the progress of the pandemic said that as of Wednesday the use of masks will also be required before entering shops, providing goods and services of all kinds, public utility companies, banks, doctors’ surgeries, municipality buildings, food retailers, hair salons, and beauty parlours.

Face masks are already obligatory in all public transport, taxis, supermarkets, hospitals, health and diagnostic centres lifts, ships and airplanes and for staff serving customers at restaurants, cafes, and bars.

The fine for not using a mask is 150 Euros ($176).

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Greece until Monday was 4,227, with a death toll of 202.

Since reopening its borders to tourists in July 1, a total of 1,294,798 people had entered the country by July 26, while 171,138 were tested for COVID-19, with 344 of them testing positive.

As many as 1,184 of the total cases are linked to foreign travel, the National Organization for Public Health said.

Earlier this month, Greek health authorities expressed concerns as several infections have been confirmed among holidaymakers entering the country during the peak tourism season.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has warned the citizens that the danger of COVID-19 is not over yet.

“We dealt with the first wave of the pandemic, but the danger still looms large,” he said in a tweet on Monday.

The southeastern European country ended three-month-long virus restrictions in June.

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