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Greece reintroduces restrictions on entertainment venues following COVID-19 spike
Published: Jul 07, 2021 09:01 AM
People enjoy the sun and the sea at Alimos beach, on the southern coast of Athens, Greece, June 26, 2021. City dwellers flocked to nearby beaches as Greece has been gripped by a heat wave this week.(Photo: Xinhua)

People enjoy the sun and the sea at Alimos beach, on the southern coast of Athens, Greece, June 26, 2021. City dwellers flocked to nearby beaches as Greece has been gripped by a heat wave this week.(Photo: Xinhua)


 
Visitors walk down the new cement walkway nearby the Parthenon temple on the Acropolis hill in Athens, Greece, on June 8, 2021.(Photo: Xinhua)

Visitors walk down the new cement walkway nearby the Parthenon temple on the Acropolis hill in Athens, Greece, on June 8, 2021.(Photo: Xinhua)


 
People are seen at a cafe at the foot of the Acropolis, in Athens, Greece, May 3, 2021.(Photo: Xinhua)

People are seen at a cafe at the foot of the Acropolis, in Athens, Greece, May 3, 2021.(Photo: Xinhua)


 
Greek authorities on Tuesday announced the reintroduction of restrictions on entertainment venues following a recent spike in new COVID-19 infections.

As of Thursday, all restaurants, cafe-bars and clubs will be serving strictly seated customers, Nikos Hardalias, deputy minister for civil protection and crisis management, said in a televised statement on Greek national broadcaster ERT, warning that violators will face heavy fines and forced closure.

The measure was imposed after the country saw large crowds fill the entertainment venues in the past few days, which has been linked with the increase in confirmed daily cases of the novel coronavirus, he explained.

Earlier on Tuesday, the National Public Health Organization (EODY) announced 1,797 new infections and 8 deaths over the past 24 hours, as well as 168 patients on ventilators in hospitals across Greece.

"Since June 28 we have witnessed a dramatic rise in the number of cases at an alarmingly fast pace. They have almost tripled," the Greek official said.

The latest data showed that many of the new cases concern young people who were infected in entertainment places, he added.

The more transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus is spreading in Greece lately and may have become dominant, Hardalias said, urging citizens to get vaccinated with no delay.

"Get inoculated immediately. In particular younger generations should protect their parents and other elderly relatives," he said.

Ninety-nine percent of patients aged 60-80 who were treated in intensive care units or passed away in the past three months in Greek hospitals had not been vaccinated, he said.

To date, more than 8.8 million vaccine doses have been administered in Greece and over four million people have been fully vaccinated, according to the figures provided by the authorities on Monday.

As the number of daily infections had started to drop off since spring, Greece has been gradually easing restrictions which have been imposed since last year to control the spread of the pandemic.
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