Greece imposes full country-wide lockdown to combat coronavirus spread

Mar 24 2020, 4:32 pm

Greece has officially entered a nation-wide lockdown, with the government banning all unnecessary transport and movement of people throughout the country in an effort to combat the further spread of COVID-19.

“It is maybe the last step, one that must be taken promptly and not in vain, because we do not count time in days anymore, but in hours,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a public address on Sunday.

“Therefore, bold initiatives are promptly required.”

According to the address, the State must protect the health and welfare of all Greek citizens and intervene when the actions of individual freedoms exceed their purpose and pose a significant threat to society.

“When the individuals demonstrate lack of responsibility, we must secure the public interest,” Mitsotakis continued.

“In the name of the common good, I proceed with this decision to protect public health and everything we have achieved so far in this area.”

Citizens are now only permitted to be out if they are travelling to or from work, shopping for food or medication, visiting a person in need of care or a physician, walking pets, or exercising by themselves or with one other person.

Additionally, for those living in urban areas, one-way travel is allowed to get to their permanent place of residence.

Anyone leaving their home is required to carry ID or a passport and must be able to justify the reasoning behind their departure.

“Either by a document from [their] employer — if they are employed — or a personal statement of responsibility … in the case they are a freelancer or self-employed,” the Prime Minister explained.

Those found to be in violation of the new policy will be fined €150 (~$234 CAD) for each infraction.

There are exemptions to the new rulings, however.

Members of the Greek government and parliament are excluded from these restrictions, as are public officials, healthcare workers, and staff in civil protection, law enforcement, and armed forces.

“We must not get to the point of choosing who will live and who will be lost,” Prime Minister Mitsotakis stated.

“My only choice is life and health of Greeks.”

The full address can be seen below: