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Tough measures in Greece

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Ann Margaret Kallis.

Ann Margaret Kallis.

Ann Margaret Kallis.

An Arklow woman has described the lockdown measures in place in her home in Greece.

Ann Margaret Kallis, from Fernhill, has been living in Greece for 22 years. Speaking to this paper, she said that people were ordered to stay at home since March 23 to curb the spread of Covid-19 .

'If we want to go out, we have to get permission from the government, either by sending a text message or a piece of paper and you have to bring your ID with you. There are only certain things that you are allowed out for such as exercise, going to the supermarket, the doctor or to help other older people. If you don't have ID on you or confirmation from the Government, you get fined €150 on the spot which is good because the money is going towards the health service.'

Restrictions were first introduced in early March to curb the spread of Covid-19 with schools and sporting events cancelled. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there were 1,753 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 73 deaths as of Monday in Greece.

Ann Margaret and her family live on the island of Salaminia, near Athens. Their home is close to a beach where they can take exercise, but things are tougher for those living in apartments.

'It's a bit more difficult for people who are living in apartments because there is nowhere for them to go. They have to stay in the apartment...I've heard it's quite difficult from some people we know who live in apartments, especially those with young children. It's hard to entertain them. When you're living in Ireland, many people have a back garden and the kids can run around there at least, but here they only have balconies. The Greeks are used to going out to the park for a walk, but now they can't really do that. It's hard for them. I'm lucky because I have a big garden and I can walk to the beach.'

Ann Margaret said the lockdown is expected to last until the end of April at the earliest. The move has already affected Greek Orthodox Easter on April 19.

'Easter in Greece, that's the biggest celebration in the year and the Government has cancelled it. The majority of Greeks who live in Athens have country homes, whether on mainland Greece or the islands, and no one is allowed to go to their country home to celebrate Easter. They have to stay in their apartments. That's not going to go down well, particularly as the weather is starting to get better.'

Further measures to slow the spread of Covid-19 were introduced this week in Greece including limiting the times when people can walk on the seafront.

'They are only allowed out from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. It's like a curfew. No one is allowed to walk along there after 2 p.m. or at the weekends, they are becoming very strict, The numbers that we have here compared to other countries, we are very lucky because they did apply measures straight away.'

Ann Margaret said she is happy at the moment to stay home.

'I'm not going out because I have asthma. I don't feel the pressure of not being able to go out.'

Ann Margaret's parents and siblings live in the Arklow area, but she is not optimistic that she will be able to visit this year.

'I don't think we'll be going home to see them. My mother and brother keep me up to date with everything,' she said.

Wicklow People