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19 Mar 2020 | 07:36 AM UTC

Greece: Gatherings of more than ten people banned as of March 19 /update 10

Government bans gatherings of more than ten individuals as of March 19 due to COVID-19; abide by authority directives

health
GRC

Event

As of Thursday, March 19, authorities have banned gatherings of more than ten individuals in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Anyone violating the restriction would face a EUR 1000 fine. It remains unclear how long the ban will remain in effect for.

On Monday, March 16, Greek authorities announced that all travelers, regardless of nationality, will be subject to a 14-day quarantine upon arrival to the country from abroad. Additionally, all shops except supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, gas stations, and food delivery services will be closed from Wednesday, March 18. Authorities will implement entry checks at all supermarkets starting on Monday to prevent overcrowding.

As of March 19, there have been over 418 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Greece, including at least six associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.