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Greece prepares to toughen restrictions on holiday islands

Greece appears poised to toughen restrictions on some popular holiday islands as Covid cases rise.

Mykonos and Ios were “one step away from strict measures” a government minister warned on Thursday, just days after strict Covid-19 measures on Mykonos were lifted.

The islands are subject to increased surveillance by health authorities due to a recent spike in cases, civil protection deputy minister Nikos Hardalias reported. Both islands are currently designated ‘orange’ under Greece’s Covid-19 risk-assessment system.

Hardalias noted concern about the situation on six more islands ­– Zakynthos, Tinos, Lefkada, Santorini, Paros and Rhodes.

He said: “We urge local authorities and visitors to pay close attention to personal protection measures and operation rules, especially in areas of high congestion.

“The situation still calls for caution. The epidemiological data clearly show the virus is still among us. It is essential we continue to adhere to health measures and protocols.”

Greece’s four-colour traffic light system sees authorities increase sampling, prioritise vaccination and undertake intensive tracking in regions designated orange (level 3).

The red category (level 4) sees a midnight-to-6am curfew, a ban on music and all events, restrictions on restaurants and bars, and seat-only service.

The minister reported a growing number of holiday destinations have been moved into the orange category including Thessaloniki, Halkidiki and Messinia (Kalamata) and the islands of Spetses, Paxi and Chios.

Greek trade publication GTP reported a warning by infectious disease expert Haralambos Gogos that more islands are at risk of turning ‘red’.

The authorities are concerned that a mass August exodus of people from Athens for the annual summer holiday will increase congestion and infections on the islands.

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