Greece announced on Saturday the closure of its primary schools, kindergartens and daycare centres amid a surge in COVID-19 cases that has saturated the national health system.
A statement issued by the country’s Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias said “The Greek government decided the suspension of the functioning of schools until November 30.
“Closing elementary schools was the last thing we wanted to do. This is a measure of how serious the situation is,” he added.
Secondary schools have already closed since last week and all lessons are being taken remotely.
Most European countries have kept schools open during the second wave of cases that have hit the continent since September, unlike in March and April when they were shuttered during the first lockdowns.
Since late October, the daily number of deaths in Greece has quadrupled with 50 deaths reported some days, while the number of infections has doubled to around 3,000 cases daily.
Out of the 1,143 total, intensive care unit beds nationwide on Friday 830 were occupied.
The country with a population of 10.9 million people has experienced 997 deaths and 69,675 contaminations since the beginning of the pandemic in late February, most of them in the last four months.
The most hard-hit area is the northern city of Thessaloniki, the second-largest city in Greece.
“The health system is in the red,” Health Minister Kikilias warned.