Greece keeps most restrictions through Christmas

Nurse Hyad Boina, left, prepares a syringe to use in the treatment of a patient in room No. 9 in his battle against COVID-19 at Bichat Hospital, AP-HP, in Paris

Greek authorities say bookshops and hairdressers will be allowed to reopen beginning Monday but all other retail stores, entertainment venues, restaurants, bars and cafes will remain shut throughout the Christmas period as part of the country’s second lockdown.

A mandatory quarantine for travelers arriving in Greece will be cut on Dec. 18 to three days from the previously announced 10 but a 10 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew will be in place throughout the holiday season.

Government spokesman Stelios Petsas said that despite five weeks of lockdown measures, coronavirus infections remain high, putting pressure on the country’s health system. Intensive care units were at 83% of their capacity nationwide, and at 91% of capacity in the hard-hit northern city of Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest urban center.

Churches will be allowed to open to the faithful only on Christmas Day and Epiphany on Jan. 6, with limits on the number allowed inside according to church size.

Greece has registered more than 121,000 confirmed cases and 3,370 deaths.

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