WORLD Greece shuts down schools, universities nationwide to contain COVID-19 epidemic


Greece shuts down schools, universities nationwide to contain COVID-19 epidemic


02:53, March 11, 2020


A man wearing a protective suit decontaminates a primary school where a child was diagnosed with coronavirus in Thessaloniki, Greece, Feb. 27, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)

ATHENS, March 10 (Xinhua) -- All schools and universities across Greece will be closed for 14 days to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias announced on Tuesday.

The measure applies to all levels, from kindergarten to tertiary education, public and private and is taken after suggestions of the ministry's committee of experts, he explained, according to an e-mailed press statement.

"Once again I stress that we should all demonstrate responsibility," Kikilias said, requesting parents to keep children at home.

In coordination with employers' associations, the government has announced measures to facilitate employees to work from home or in shifts and support affected businesses, he added.

Greece has reported a total of 89 confirmed cases of COVID-19 so far since the first one was reported on Feb. 26.

Vangelis Marinakis, ship owner and owner of Olympiacos FC and Nottingham Forest FC, announced on Tuesday that he is among the infected.

"I feel good as I take all the necessary measures and am complying with the doctors' instructions. I advise all my fellow citizens to do the same. A speedy recovery to us all," he said in a post on his Facebook account.

Marinakis had traveled to Britain lately.

So far most cases in Greece are linked to travelers who returned from Italy and a group who had traveled to Israel and Egypt, and their close contacts.

One of the cases, an elderly man hospitalized in western Greece since last week, was in a critical condition, according to the Greek Health Ministry.

Greek authorities have introduced a series of measures to contain the epidemic, reiterating calls to the public to follow experts' instructions.

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