Europe

Greece slaps restrictions on two tourist islands to curb COVID

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People visit Monastiraki square in Athens, Greece, July 25, 2021. Picture taken July 25, 2021. REUTERS/Louiza Vradi

ATHENS, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Greece imposed a night time curfew and banned music on two popular tourist islands on Thursday to contain the spread of COVID-19, its civil protection deputy minister said.

The Mediterranean country, which is trying to rebuild a tourist sector hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, is also battling a wave of wildfires during a protracted heatwave.

Restrictions will come into effect from Friday and run until Aug. 13 after a recommendation by the committee of infectious disease experts advising the Greek government.

The areas affected are the island of Zakynthos in western Greece, where the epidemiological load worsened by 69% from a week earlier, and the city of Chania in Crete where it rose 54%.

The restrictions include a night time curfew and a complete 24-hour ban on music at all entertainment venues.

"We call on the residents and visitors in these areas to fully comply with the measures to limit the spread of the virus," the Civil Protection agency said.

Greece reported 2,856 COVID-19 infections on Wednesday and 16 related deaths, bringing the total since the first case was detected in February 2020 to 503,885 and 13,013 respectively.

Last month, Greece's south Aegean islands were marked dark red on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control's COVID-19 map after a rise in infections, meaning all but essential travel was discouraged. read more

Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Alexander Smith

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