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Covid-19: Greece Tightens Restrictions for Outside Movement via SMS

Going outside in Greece during lockdown will get harder as of Thursday, March 4, as authorities have tightened rules for leaving home under the SMS system for outside movement.

Since the country’s first lockdown, people have been allowed to leave their homes only for specific reasons and after notifying authorities by sending an SMS to the five-digit mobile phone service 13033.

However, due to the recent sharp spike in new coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in the country and rise in hospital admissions, the Greek authorities are looking to limit movement between municipalities to curb the spread. Taking under consideration the “excessive use” of certain SMS movement codes, which has resulted to crowding in many areas, some restrictions for leaving home under the SMS system have been announced.

Speaking during Wednesday’s Covid-19 media briefing, Greek Civil Protection Deputy Minister Nikos Hardalias announced that as of Thursday, March 4 (6am) until March 16 (6am), people requesting permission for movement by sending as SMS for option “code 2” (going to supermarkets and essential stores) and option “code 3” (going to banks or public services) will be restricted to movement only in the municipality they are in or within a 2-kilometer distance from their place of residence.

People who send an SMS for option “code 6” (personal exercise or walking a pet), movement will be allowed only on foot or by bicycle, not by car or motorcycle, and only in the municipality of residence.

Also, in order to confirm the correct use of option “code 4” (assistance to the elderly or to a person in need), authorities will request additional clarifications and documentation.

Changes to curfew

The deputy minister also announced that the curfew for areas in “red” (high-risk) status will now be from 9 pm to 5 am and for areas in “dark red” (very high-risk) status, will be from 7 pm to 5 am.

The only “dark red” areas that will have the 9 pm to 5 am curfew will be the Region of Attica and the Regional Unit of Thessaloniki, except on weekends when the 7 pm to 5 am will apply.

During the hours of curfew, outside movement is allowed strictly for specific reasons (such as work and health).

“Red” and “dark red” dominate Covid-19 map

Moreover, Hardalias announced all of the areas in Greece that are in “dark red” (very high risk) status on the country’s color-coded risk-assessment map due to a continuous rise in Covid-19 cases.

Specifically, Greece’s “dark red” list includes the Attica Region and the regional units of Achaia, Arcadia, Thessaloniki, Larissa, Lefkada (except Meganisi), Fthiotida, Argolida, Corinth, Thesprotia, Arta, Samos, Viotia, Chios, Rhodes, Heraklion and Evia (except Skyros). Also, the municipality of Kalymnos is also currently in “dark red” status.

All other regions in Greece are in “red” (high risk) status.

Areas that have changed status either to “red” or “dark red” on the Covid-19 risk-assessment map will have to follow the measures that correspond to those colors as of Thursday, March 4 (6am) until Tuesday, March 16 (6am).

Restrictions in “red” areas include an evening/night curfew from 9 pm to 5am. Shopping is only allowed by the “click-away” method (consumers must make their orders online or by phone and can pick up their purchases outside of stores). Customers are allowed to enter some stores (clothing, shoe stores and bookstores) through the “click in shop” method (by appointments). Hairdressers, barbershops, beauty salons and vehicle inspection services (KTEO) in “red” areas can service customers only by appointment. Schools in red areas are open and only and high school students are obliged to follow lessons via tele-education.

Residents in “dark red” areas are obliged to follow strict lockdown measures that include an evening/night curfew from 7 pm to 5am while all schools, retail stores and hairdressers are closed.

For further information (in Greek) on the restrictive measures in ‘red’ and ‘dark red’ areas, press here. The map is updated every week.

Greek health authorities on Wednesday announced 2,702 new coronavirus cases – 1,269 found in Athens-Attica alone – and 40 deaths.

Since the start of the pandemic, the total number of cases in the country has reached 197,279. The Covid-19 death toll in Greece is 6,597.

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  1. Francesco Reply

    This is a huge joke. Their lockdown and restrictions are in place since November 7! This destroyed the economy and people’s lives. Are the people implementing these measures suffering from them or are they affected by them? Absolutely not.
    As long as people implement drastic measures against the others that doesn’t concern them, this insanity will continue. Their are treatments that work, use them, instead of putting in house arrest an entire population!
    Stop the lockdowns now!

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