Greece Shuts Down Schools Amid Rising COVID-19 Cases
Greece government has announced closure of its primary schools, kindergartens and daycare centres amid a surge in coronavirus cases that has saturated the national health system.
Health Minister, Vassilis Kikilias in a statement stated;
The Greek government decided the suspension of the functioning of schools until November 30.
Closing elementary schools was the last thing we wanted to do. This is a measure of how serious the situation is. The health system is in the red.
Secondary schools have already closed and all lessons have taken place remotely since Monday.
Most European countries have kept schools open during the second waves of cases that have hit the continent since September, unlike in March and April when they were shuttered during the first lockdowns.
World Health Organisation recommends that schools only be shut as a last resort.
Since late October, the daily number of deaths in Greece has quadrupled with 50 deaths reported some days, while the number of infections has doubled to around 3,000 cases daily. Out of the 1,143 total intensive care unit beds nationwide on Friday 830 were occupied.
Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis while briefing Members of Parliament about the second lockdown since March at Greek Parliament, said; “The coming weeks will be extremely critical”.
The lockdown started November 7 and is to last until November 30, although experts suggest it might last longer. Since Friday night, a curfew from 9 pm to 5am has also been imposed all over Greece.
The country with a population of 10.9 million people has experienced 997 deaths and 69,675 contaminations since the beginning of the pandemic in late February, most of them in the last four months. The most hard-hit area is the northern city of Thessaloniki, the second-largest city in Greece.