Coronavirus: Greece reintroduce SMS authorisation for movement as country enters second lockdown | World News
Residents in Greece will need to obtain permission before leaving their homes as the country’s second lockdown comes into force.
Similar to measures adopted during the first lockdown, people will be required to send a text message to a five-digit number, providing their name, address and the reason why they need to leave their house.
The country’s digital governance minister announced the permissible reasons on Thursday.
They include visiting a pharmacy or doctor, going to a supermarket or other shops for essential items, going to a bank if online banking cannot be used.
People can also visit those who need assistance, take children to school, visit children if parents are divorced, exercise outdoors, take a pet for a walk and attend a funeral.
When out, a form of ID must also be carried, and a form detailing the reason for leaving home if texting is not possible.
Greece announced a second lockdown on Thursday to help curb a sharp increase in COVID-19 infections.
The lockdown, which will last three weeks, will see the closure of retail outlets, with exemptions for supermarkets, pharmacies and pet shops.
High schools will also shut and move to teaching remotely while primary schools will remain open.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said the healthcare system would face “unbearable” pressure if a lockdown was not implemented.
He said: “I’ve chosen to take drastic measures sooner rather than later.”
According to officials, coronavirus cases increased by 20% within the last week.
The country recorded 2,917 new infections on Thursday – its highest daily tally since the outbreak began in February.
A total of 702 deaths have been recorded, with a record 29 of these happening on Thursday.
From Monday, arrivals into Greece will need to provide proof of testing negative for coronavirus within 48 hours of travel.
Hairdressers will also be allowed to operate until Monday to meet demand after the lockdown announcement saw a surge in bookings.
The Syriza party, the main opposition, has been critical of the government’s failure to support the health care system, with MP Alexis Haritsis adding that “the government has undermined the magnitude of this crisis”.
Greece predicts that its economy will shrink by 8.2% this year as a result of the pandemic.