March 23, 2020 / 10:36 AM / 12 days ago

Greece bans flights from UK, Turkey as coronavirus cases rise

Greeks, who flew back from Spain, are seen on the balconies of a hotel where they were placed in a two-week quarantine, after the Greek government imposed a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Athens, Greece, March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Costas Baltas

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece on Monday suspended flights from Britain and Turkey to curb the spread of coronavirus, as a lockdown took effect in the country.

The ban came into effect at 0400 GMT — 6:00 a.m. in Athens — on March 23 and ends at 1300 GMT on April 15. It was a temporary and preemptive measure, a ministerial decree said, as part of further efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Greece confirmed 71 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, bringing the total since its first recorded case on Feb. 26 to 695 people, including 17 people who died.

The prime minister announced a curfew with few exceptions restricting the movement of people, the latest in a series of measures to fight the virus. Greece has already sealed its borders to non-EU citizens, and those from Italy and Spain.

Police officers were deployed on the streets of Athens on Monday to enforce the lockdown, which allows people out only with special permits. The lockdown order came into effect at 0400 GMT.

Reporting by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Catherine Evans and Gareth Jones

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