Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Saturday declared a one-month partial coronavirus lockdown, shutting down restaurants and other leisure activities in Athens and other major cities from Tuesday.
"We must act now, before intensive care units buckle under the strain of lives in danger," Mitsotakis said in a televised address.
"The virus is attacking in waves, and we need to quickly adapt," he said.
Greece has registered over 37,000 coronavirus cases since February, including over 1,600 on Friday. Accelerating from August onwards, the virus has caused 620 deaths to date.
The PM said the lockdown would shut down eateries, cafes, clubs, cinemas, museums and gyms in worst-hit areas, but would not affect retail businesses and schools, to soften the blow to the economy.
In addition to the capital, the latest restrictions apply to most major cities in northern Greece including Thessaloniki, Larissa and Ioannina.
The rest of the country will have to abide by an overnight curfew from midnight to 5:00 am, in addition to the compulsory use of masks even indoors, Mitsotakis said.
But in contrast to a nationwide lockdown imposed in March, movement between regions is not restricted for now, he added.
Hotels and hair salons will also be allowed to operate.
"A total lockdown would hurt the economy and society," Mitsotakis said.
The government had already declared a night curfew from 00:30 am to 0500 am in Athens, Thessaloniki and other areas on October 22.
That followed localised lockdowns in the northern regions of Kozani and Kastoria earlier this month.
© 2020 AFP