Greece cancels Christmas events, brings back mask mandate

Dec 23, 2021, 6:17 AM | Updated: 8:05 am

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Christmas concerts and other events have been canceled in Greece under new restrictions announced Thursday that include a general mask mandate for outdoors and all public areas.

Incoming travelers will also be required to have follow-up tests for COVID-19 on the second and fourth days after their arrival.

The restrictions will take effect Friday as the country braces for the expected impact of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, with the public health service already under pressure and intensive care space at more than 90% capacity.

“Due to the large amount of Christmas activity and crowded conditions that it creates, the mandatory use of masks is fully justified,” Health Minister Thanos Plevris said during a live-streamed presentation of the measures, which will remain in effect at least through Jan. 3.

Greece suffered a spike in pandemic-related deaths in November and December with the infection level easing in recent days. But the emergence of the omicron variant has renewed concern in the country where about a quarter of the adult population remains unvaccinated.

Based on vaccine appointment data, Plevris said the adult vaccination coverage would soon rise to 80%. Nearly 30% of Greece’s population has already received a booster shot.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Finland's Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, left, Sweden's Foreign Minister Ann Linde, right, and NA...
Associated Press

Finland to boost security at Russia border with amended law

HELSINKI (AP) — Finland’s Parliament on Thursday passed amended legislation on border security that allows for the closure of crossing points with Russia amid fears that Moscow could choose to send large numbers of migrants to the frontier. The move by lawmakers came just two days after NATO’s 30 members signed formal accession protocols for […]
11 hours ago
Associated Press

Oil minister says Iraq to act to annul Kurdish oil deals

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s oil minister said on Thursday the government will take steps to enforce a recent court decision to annul oil contracts the semiautonomous northern Iraqi Kurdish region made with international companies. The minister, Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar Ismail, told The Associated Press the deals, which circumvent the government in Baghdad, are illegal and amount […]
11 hours ago
Firefighters hose down a burning car after a strike hit a residential area, in Kramatorsk, Donetsk ...
Associated Press

Russia taking ‘operational pause’ in Ukraine, analysts say

Analysts say Russia may be taking an "operational pause" in eastern Ukraine to reassemble forces for a significant offensive.
11 hours ago
A memorial to the seven people killed and others injured in Monday's Fourth of July mass shooting g...
Associated Press

Red flags missed: How July 4 suspect slipped through system

Illinois’ “red-flag” law could have stopped, or at least slowed down, the suspect in the Independence Day parade shooting from being able to buy the gun he is accused of using to kill seven people and wound dozens more. Police in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park were called twice to the home of Robert […]
11 hours ago
Associated Press

EU decision on natural gas could threaten climate progress

The European Union’s decision to include natural gas in a list of activities considered sustainable could derail its progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions at a time when climate scientists are calling for dramatic reductions to planet-warming releases. The decision, reached Wednesday, will allow investment in natural gas infrastructure such as natural gas power plants […]
11 hours ago
FILE - In this Feb. 27, 2008 file photo, euro coins and dollar bills are seen in Frankfurt, central...
Associated Press

With US dollar nearly equal to euro, impact is being felt

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. dollar has been surging so much that it’s nearly equal in value to the euro for the first time in 20 years. That trend, though, threatens to hurt American companies because their goods become more expensive for foreign buyers. If U.S. exports were to weaken as a result, so, too, […]
11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
...
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
Greece cancels Christmas events, brings back mask mandate