Updated two-tiered systems launched in Greece as COVID-19 cases grow

Greek authorities on Friday said they would put back stricter lockdown restrictions in greater Athens after a January decline in infection rates was reversed this week.

The Greek government also announced a streamlined two-tier system of epidemiological alert nationally that shares the essential obligatory health rules, such as wearing masks and sending SMS (text messages) to authorities before leaving home, and new curfew times for selected areas.

In a live briefing on Friday, Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis and Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias announced stricter restrictions for Attica retail stores.

Clothes and shoe stores and bookshops in Attica will operate by the “click-in-store” method as of Jan. 30, which allows a limited number of customers in-store after prearranged appointments. Hairdressers and beauty salons will use by appointment only. Unlike previous times, stores will not be open on Sunday, Jan. 31, less than two weeks after reopening.

Hardalias also announced a simplified two-tier system of epidemiological alert nationally that shares the basic obligatory health rules, such as wearing masks and sending SMS (text messages) to authorities before leaving home, and keeping curfew.

Level A (yellow alert) areas are monitored for changes in infection rates, and Level B (red) are areas under high-alert due to increased numbers on infections.

Also the restrictions in retail as of Saturday in Attica, placed under the red level, only grades 7-9 will return to school as planned on Monday, February 1, while upper classes (10-12) will remain on remote operation in Attica Region.

In other areas, classes will resume for these upper grades as well. Kindergartens and primary schools have been open since January 11. Religious services are allowed, but only up to 9 people may attend them in red areas and up to 25 in yellow.

In terms of overnight curfews, in yellow-tier areas it is 21:00-05:00. In red areas it starts at 18:00, but Attica was exempted, as the restriction would create havoc in traffic and transportation.

Besides Attica, other red-tiered regions announced by Hardalias include: Lesvos region, Eordea municipality in Kozani region, the municipalities of Thiveon and Tanagra at Boeotia region, Sparta municipality at Lakonia region, Halkideon municipality and the Roma settlement in the Distion municipal area of Kimi-Aliverti municipality of Evia region, Nea Propontida municipality at Halkidiki region, Patras municipality of Achaia region, and Thira and Mykonos regions.

Greece imposed lockdown measures — that eventually included a nationwide curfew as well as school and store closures — in early November amid a huge spike in cases.

With a population of 10.5 million, Greek health authorities on Friday announced 941 new coronavirus cases and 22 deaths. Since the start of the pandemic, the total number of cases in the country has reached 155,678. The Covid-19 death toll in Greece is 5,764.