Greece takes strict measures to avoid second wave of coronavirus

Workers in bright yellow vests stand on the dock in Greece's main port of Piraeus, greeting hundreds of masked ferry passengers with fliers and the occasional temperature check.

Free on-the-spot tests for travelers returning from Greek islands where outbreaks have occurred is the latest in an arsenal of measures authorities are using to tackle a resurgence of COVID-19 in a country that has so far managed to dodge the worst of the pandemic.

New localised restrictions, including a midnight curfew for bars, restaurants and cafes and a ban on large gatherings have been imposed, mainly in popular tourist destinations such as the Aegean Sea island of Mykonos, Maria Skopeliti, whose husband and son work on Mykonos, was one of a handful of people opting for the voluntary coronavirus test in Piraeus on a recent morning.

She estimated that more than two-thirds of people in Mykonos had been ignoring personal protective measures. "Even though I was quite careful... you can't be sure because it's an island that lives to a different beat," said the 57-year-old Skopeliti. "It's logical because there are many young people, you can't restrict them." The number of confirmed virus cases and deaths in Greece remains lower than in many other European countries. As of Tuesday, total cases in the country of about 11 million people stood at just under 9,000, with 243 deaths and 31 people intubated in intensive care units.

Belgium, by comparison, with a population of around 11.5 million, has reported nearly 82,000 confirmed cases and close to 10,000 deaths, one of the world's highest per capita pandemic mortality rates.

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