Greece announced new restrictions on Friday, including increased face mask requirements and an extension to lockdowns of refugee camps, as the country continues to grapple with rising coronavirus cases after opening up to international tourists last month.

Greece has kept its overcrowded refugee camps on lockdown since March in an effort to stave off the virus’s spread among the vulnerable populations. The latest lockdown will last until Aug. 31, the migration ministry announced Friday.

About 30,000 migrants and asylum seekers are housed across several Greek islands, in addition to several thousand refugees on the mainland. Human rights groups have criticized Greek authorities for keeping people in the often-unsanitary and congested camps where an outbreak could easily occur.

Under the other enhanced directives announced Friday, face masks must be worn in all indoor settings for all of August. Churches are included in the rule, though restaurants are exempt. Weddings may have less than 100 guests, while visits to care and nursing homes are banned until mid-August.

“In recent days, the application of measures has slackened and crowd-gathering has been noticed. This is reflected in a daily rise in infections,” deputy minister for civil protection Nikos Hardalias announced during an emergency broadcast, the Telegraph reported.

Greece reported 78 new cases on Friday. The numbers remain far lower than other countries — but a blow to the country’s efforts to remain relatively virus free and keep its embattled tourism-dependent economy afloat.

Source: The Washington Post

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