- Disregarding Greece’s calls for residents to stay home and prevent the spread of the coronavirus, many flocked to local islands.
- Fearing the islands’ lack of resources to deal with contagion, authorities banned all visitors from travelling to the islands by ferry on Saturday.
- Greece later instituted a nationwide lockdown effective Monday, March 23, restricting all non-essential travel and gatherings.
- Residents must now carry their ID and an official form with them whenever they leave home and will be surveilled by drones.
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As the coronavirus spreads across Europe and the globe, Greece has called for residents to stay home and self-isolate.
That didn’t stop some from escaping to isolated islands off the coast. Boatloads of second-home-owning Europeans had the same idea, according to the Greek City Times. Worried that the small islands didn’t have healthcare facilities to deal with a potential outbreak, on Saturday, Greek authorities announced that ferries running between the mainland and the smaller islands would stop accepting non-resident passengers, the Greek City Times reported.
So much for riding out the coronavirus outbreak in comfort from an infinity pool on Mykonos.
One day later, Greece ordered a nationwide lockdown.
The lockdown, which went into effect on Monday, was “a response to many Greeks defying calls to stay at home,” Tasos Kokkinidis wrote for the Greek Reporter. “Over the last few days, thousands left Athens and other major cities for the countryside and the islands raising fears that they could spread the virus all over the country.”
“I will not allow a frivolous few to undermine the safety of the majority because a few irresponsible people can harm thousands of responsible citizens,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced in a televised newscast on Sunday.
Until Greece lifts the lockdown, residents will not be able to leave their homes other than for essential reasons, Business Insider’s Greek correspondent Mitch Prothero previously reported. These allowable excursions include going to work, buying groceries, visiting the doctor, going to the bank, observing serious family obligations, and exercising solo or in pairs.
Residents who leave their homes must now carry an ID and “Certificate of Citizens’ Movement” form with them each time they leave the house. The form, which can be printed from the internet, requires citizens to write down their full name, permanent residence, time of movement, and reason for movement.
Prothero, who lives in Athens, observed that locals fled the city “for the perceived safety of their ancestral villages,” ahead of the lockdown going into effect.