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Greece imposes bar and restaurant curfew as country hit by second wave

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Greece has imposed a curfew on bars and restaurants in its popular holiday destinations as the country faces a “second wave” of coronavirus.

Bars and restaurants must now be closed between midnight and 7am in the islands of Mykonos, Santorini, Corfu, Kos, Crete, Rhodes, and Zakynthos, as well as several mainland cities, government spokesperson Aristotelia Peloni said.

Greece recorded 203 positive Covid-19 test results on Sunday, its highest number since the pandemic began.

The Greek health minister, Vassilis Kikilias, said virus transmission was “rising dangerously”.

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Greece’s main concern was “the degree to which this epidemic can stretch any health system”, Mr Kikilias said. “No health system, anywhere in the world, can cope effectively with a full epidemic resurgence.”

The restrictions will remain in place from Tuesday until Sunday, August 23.

The cities of Thessaloniki, Larisi, Volos and Katerini, and the Halkidiki peninsula will also be subject to the curfew.

The Greek government also announced new restrictions for people entering the country.

From August 17, all passengers arriving in the country from Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the Czech Republic must provide a negative Covid-19 test result from the past three days.

The government also announced that only 750 people a day will be allowed to enter the country from Albania from August 16.

Greece is currently exempt from quarantine rules in England.

Gkikas Magiorkinis, an assistant professor of hygiene and epidemiology at Athens University and infectious disease expert, said Greece had reached a critical juncture in its ability to contain the virus.

“We can say that Greece has formally entered a second wave of the epidemic. This is the point that we could win or lose the battle,” he said, adding that without intervention cases could surge to 350 a day.

He said the recent rise in virus transmission was partly due to tourism, but mostly because of lax observance of hygiene protocols by Greeks, especially younger people who flood bars and beaches in summer.

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