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Greece to keep most coronavirus restrictions through Christmas

Greece to keep most coronavirus restrictions through Christmas
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Government officials in Greece said that the country will keep many of its precautions to halt the spread of coronavirus in place through Christmas.

Greece will continue its second lockdown through the Christmas holiday in an effort to curb the spread of the virus. Restaurants, bars, cafes and entertainment venues will remain closed, but the country will allow hairdressers, bookstores and other retailers to reopen as soon as Monday, The Associated Press reported.

Greece will allow people to attend church services on Christmas Day and on Epiphany on Jan. 6. Limits will be placed on the number of people allowed to enter the churches depending on their size, according to AP.

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Greece is also cutting down the quarantine period for those traveling into the country from 10 days to just three days. A new curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. will be set in place for the duration of the holiday season, according to AP.

Coronavirus numbers remain at high levels despite the lockdown, according to government spokesperson Stelios Petsas. He said the health care system is suffering as a result, noting that intensive care units nationwide have reached 83 percent capacity and soared to 91 percent capacity in the nation's hardest-hit city, Thessaloniki, AP reported.

The country has been in its second lockdown of the pandemic since November.

"We must stop this wave," Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsokais said at the time. "I chose once again to take drastic measures sooner rather than later."

More than 121,000 confirmed coronavirus cases have been reported within Greece and the country has reported a total of 3,370 deaths, according to AP.