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Greece delays school reopening to September 14, students to wear masks

FILE PHOTO: Students of the final year of high school wear protective face masks during a class on the first day of easing of lockdown measures against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the education sector, in Athens, Greece, May 11, 2020. Orestis Panagiotou/Pool via REUTERS

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek authorities have delayed the reopening of schools by a week to September 14, due to a surge in COVID-19 infections, the government said on Tuesday.

The rise in coronavirus cases in recent weeks has forcedGreek authorities to gradually reimpose restrictions to curb thespread of COVID-19, during the peak tourism season. The capital Athens and many popular islands have been affected.

Government spokesman Stelios Petsas said the extension was necessary for families to return to big cities from summer vacations and spend some time at home before children get back to class.

“We urge all parents to return with the children to their homes in the coming days and to make sure they stay safe ... until lessons resume,” Petsas said.

Mask wearing will be mandatory in all indoor spaces ofschools across the country.

Greece has reported 207 new COVID-19 infections since Monday, raising the total number to 10,524. It has recorded a total of 271 COVID-related deaths, including five since Monday.

Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou and Renee Maltezou, Editing by Gareth Jones