Greece: Tougher lockdown rules target exercise cheats

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A woman sits as a sign reads "For your information, the use of mask is mandatory" in Athens, Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Greece has recorded a new spike in COVID-19 infections, nearly half of which were recorded in the greater Athens region where hospital intensive care units are quickly filling up. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS – Authorities in Greece said Wednesday that police will target people making false exercise claims to bypass stay-at-home orders as part of tougher new restrictions.

COVID-19 infections remain on the rise in Greece, despite four months of lockdown measures. Greece reported 2,702 confirmed new infections Wednesday, the highest daily total so far this year, as the daily number of infections per 100,000 rose to 15.7 as a seven-day rolling average, from 4.2 on Jan. 22.

Most residents in the country can only leave their homes using a number-categorized permission system, normally requested and granted via SMS.

Civil Protection chief Nikos Hardalias said that starting Thursday, permission to visit banks and supermarkets would only be permitted for a 2-kilometer radius of each person’s home, while those wishing to exercise could not use their vehicles or public transport for that outing.

Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias said more private and military hospital facilities would be used in greater Athens, to free up more beds in the National Health System for coronavirus treatment.