ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece will make mask-wearing compulsory on the decks of ferries cruising to its islands, extending the requirement beyond indoor public areas, after an abrupt increase in coronavirus infections that might put its essential tourism season at threat.
SUBMIT IMAGE: A fisherman works on his boat at the port of the town of Skala Sikamias, on the island of Lesbos, Greece, March 5,2020 Picture taken March 5,2020 REUTERS/Costas Baltas
Greece reported 110 new cases on Saturday, its highest single-day increase in several weeks. Another 75 verified cases were reported on Sunday.
Last week Greece made mask-wearing mandatory in all indoor public areas and likewise in outside areas where proper social distancing can not be observed.
The government is also thinking about more curbs.
” Compliance with this measure is crucial to prevent more drastic steps that would reduce passenger-load limitations on ships,” government spokesman Stelios Petsas informed press reporters.
The new step will enter into result from Tuesday until Aug. 18, as the summer holiday season strikes its peak.
Greece has up until now confirmed 4,662 COVID-19 cases and 208 deaths, a reasonably low number compared with numerous European countries, after enforcing a lockdown in the spring.
But rates have been approaching after a lull from late Might to late July.
Cyprus stated on Sunday it would introduce compulsory testing for all arrivals from Greece from Aug. 6. The eastern Mediterranean island is believed to be the very first country to need tests on arrivals from Greece considering that the lockdown alleviated.
” It is a decision which personally I do not comprehend, I think it is wrong or a minimum of I don’t understand the requirements on which it was based,” Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theocharis informed Parapolitika radio.
” I hope there will be some sort of interaction, some understanding between epidemiologists from both sides,” he stated, including that Greece is a safe country.
Tourist is an essential driver of Greece’s economy which is seen shrinking approximately 10 percent this year and is slowly emerging from a decade of debt crisis. Greece is a popular holiday destination for thousands of Cypriots.
Extra reporting by Renee Maltezou; Modifying by David Holmes and Nick Macfie