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Crete Covid-19 Cases Soar, New Lockdown-style Measures Ordered

Rethymno, Crete. Photo source: Visit Greece

Greek authorities ordered lockdown-style restrictions for the Cretan town of Rethymno starting today in addition to extending measures in Chania and Heraklion until 6am on August 25, after the number of Covid-19 cases soared to 4,206 on Tuesday and ICU admissions increased.

The largest number of coronavirus incidents were recorded in Attica (969), Thessaloniki (323) and Heraklion (222) in addition to Chania and Rethymno.

Crete restrictions include a 1am-6am curfew, no music at bars, cafes, restaurants and entertainment venues. Movement is allowed for work- or health-related reasons only.

The decision was announced by the Greek government’s Covid-19 committee which assesses the viral load every week.

Indicative of the situation on Crete, the head of the Heraklion Hospital ICU ward, Anestis Kioulpalis said the island’s intensive care units are almost 100 percent full while hospitals continue to be inundated by daily admissions of younger individuals infected with Covid-19.

It should be reminded that gatherings with more than 20 people are not allowed anywhere in Greece. Fines for violations range from 50,000 to 200,000 euros for organizers.

Shipping Minister Calls for Vaccinations

Meanwhile, Shipping Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis called on Port Authority and Coast Guard employees to proceed with vaccinations in order to create a wall of immunity against Covid-19 and its variants.

“Vaccination, especially of those who come in contact with a large number of citizens, but also for those who serve in positions of maximum responsibility guarding borders and ensuring the security of our compatriots is both a social responsibility and a national priority,” said Plakiotakis in a letter sent to relevant departments and bodies.

Meanwhile, in efforts to raise awareness and to encourage vaccination and  taking advantage of Greeks’ return from the holidays this month, the government released a new info-video this week on social media outlets.

Titled “Returning from Vacation We are More Vigilant”, the video offers advice on the safe return of holidaymakers and encourages viewers to get vaccinated.

Elsewhere in the world, Australia’s flag carrier Qantas said all its employees would be required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 by mid-November for frontline staff and by end of March 2022 for the rest.

One of the world’s largest airlines, Qantas has also stated that it will require all international passengers to be vaccinated once Australia’s borders reopen.

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About the Author
Chicago-born and raised, Maria Paravantes has over two decades of journalistic experience covering tourism and travel, gastronomy, arts, music and culture, economy and finance, politics, health and social issues for international press and media. She has worked for Reuters, The Telegraph, Huffington Post, Billboard Magazine, Time Out Athens, the Athens News, Odyssey Magazine and SETimes.com, among others. She has also served as Special Advisor to Greece’s minister of Foreign Affairs, and to the mayor of Athens on international press and media issues. Maria is currently a reporter, content and features writer for GTP Headlines.
  1. D, Dale Reply

    Today, as restrictions are lifted, has anyone published a clear guideline as to exactly what restrictions stay in place and for whom?

  2. Helen Mondloch Reply

    Hi Maria-
    Thanks for your informative article. From speaking to people currently on Crete, I do not get the sense that these restrictions are beinng enforced in Chania– certainly not the one that states, “Movement is allowed for work- or health-related reasons only.” It sounds like the streets are teeming with people. I know that there was strict enforcement early in the pandemic, however. Do you have any sense of when/if enforcement will happen again?

    Is there any chance that Crete will bar visitors at some point–Is there a case number that would trigger such a closure?

    Any additional information you could provide would be appreciated. The discrepancy between the restrictions and realities is hard to fathom…

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