Coronavirus lockdown in Greece requires people to text authorities before leaving home

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Under a second nationwide coronavirus lockdown in Greece, people will need to text authorities if they want to leave their homes.

The lockdown will start at daybreak Saturday and last until the end of the month. With infections surging across the country, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he acted before patients overwhelm hospitals.

“We must stop this wave,” Mitsotakis said Thursday. “I chose once again to take drastic measures sooner rather than later.”

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As part of the lockdown, all retail stores except those selling essential items such as food, medication, and fuel will be closed.

A policeman, wearing a face mask to protect against coronavirus, asks a driver to display a movement permission form, during the first day of a lockdown, in Athens, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020.
(AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)

Travel inside the country will be severely restricted.

People will only be allowed to leave their homes for work, physical exercise or medical reasons, and only after sending a text message to authorities. 

Policemen, wearing face masks to protect against coronavirus, ask a driver to display a movement permission form, during the first day of a lockdown, in Athens, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020.
(AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)

In the texts to the five-digit number, people will have to provide their name, address and the reason why they need to leave their home. 

A municipal worker disinfects an area at central Monastiraki square during the first day of a lockdown, in Athens, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020.
(AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)

Permissible reasons also include taking children to school, taking a pet for a walk and visiting people who need assistance, according to Sky News. 

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When people venture out, they will be required to carry identification and a form detailing their reason for leaving home if they aren't able to text.

A policeman, wearing a face mask to protect against coronavirus, asks a passenger of a car to display his movement permission form, during the first day of a lockdown, in Athens, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020.
(AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)

During the new lockdown, kindergartens, primary schools and all grades in special education schools will stay open. High schools will operate via remote learning.

The country's borders will be open, but anyone arriving from abroad must provide proof of a negative coronavirus test, Civil Protection Deputy Minister Nikos Hardalias said.

Health authorities in Greece recorded 2,556 new coronavirus cases and a record 34 deaths on Saturday.

During the pandemic, the country has had 54,809 confirmed cases and 749 deaths.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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