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ATHENS (Reuters) - Visitors to Greece arriving from Sweden, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic will need proof they have tested negative for the novel coronavirus to gain entry, the government said on Monday.

Tightening controls after a recent spike in COVID-19 infections, the government said the requirement will go into effect from August 17.

The required test cannot be older than 72 hours prior to entry.

On Sunday Greece reported its highest daily tally of coronavirus infections, 203 cases, since the start of the outbreak.

The brought the total number of infections in the country to 5,623 since its first infection surfaced in late February.

The government said the same requirement will apply to all visitors entering Greece via its land borders, including Greek citizens returning home.

The government also moved to suspend public gatherings, including shows and concerts, where audiences are not seated.

Prompted by recent epidemiological data that showed an uptrend in COVID-19 infections, it has also said restaurants and bars in Crete, Thessaloniki, Chalkidiki and the islands of Mykonos, Paros, Santorini, Antiparos, Zakynthos and Kos cannot operate from midnight to 07:00.

(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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The Latest: Lockdown largely ending in Melbourne, Australia

MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia’s former coronavirus hot spot Melbourne will largely emerge from lockdown after the city on Monday recorded its first day without a new COVID-19 case in more than four months.

Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said from 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday all shops, restaurants, cafes and bars will be allowed to open and outdoors contact sports can resume.

From 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 8, Melbourne residents will no longer be restricted to traveling within 25 kilometers (16 miles) of their homes. They will also be allowed to travel from the city to other parts of Victoria.

“Now is the time to open up,” Andrews told reporters.

Melbourne, the nation’s second-largest city, has been under strict lockdown measures since early July and the state government has been accused of inflicting unnecessary economic damage by not relaxing restrictions sooner.

The last time Victoria recorded a 24-hour period without a single case was June 9 before a second wave of infections began. A week has passed since Victoria lost a life to COVID-19. The death of a man aged in his 90s on Oct. 19 brought the state’s death toll to 817. Only 88 people have died with COVID-19 elsewhere in Australia.

Victoria’s daily infection tally peaked at 725 in early August.



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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka’s Parliament has closed for the premises to be disinfected after COVID-19 was diagnosed in a police officer serving there as a fresh virus outbreak grows.

Parliament will close Monday for two days as a precaution and will be disinfected during that time, said Narendra Fernando, the sergeant-at-arms of the Parliament.

A coronavirus cluster that began among garment factory workers earlier this month has grown to 4,400 cases, more than half the country’s total of 7,872. The death toll climbed to 16 on Sunday.

During the last 24 hours, 351 new patients have been detected and the majority are from the garment cluster.

To contain the spread, the government has closed schools and banned gatherings across Sri Lanka, and a curfew is in effect in many parts of Western province, where the infections have been concentrated.

Several thousand people have been asked to quarantine at home, while another 8,421 people are being quarantined at military-run centers.


NEW DELHI — India’s coronavirus cases are continuing to decline but rising air pollution and Hindu festivals are raising fears of new infections.

The Health Ministry said 45,148 new cases have taken India’s tally to 7.9 million on Monday. It also reported 480 deaths in the past 24 hours, raising total fatalities to 119,014.

The Indian capital is seeing an upsurge with nearly 4,000 new cases, the highest in the past five weeks. Experts expressed concern over severe air pollution caused by farm fires, exhaust from diesel generators, dust from construction sites and burning of garbage.

“When you have high levels of air pollution you will see an increase of severe COVID-19 infections,” said Dr. Randeep Guleria, a government health expert.

The southern coastal state of Kerala is the second-worst state for active cases in the country. India’s Health Minister Harsh Vardhan blamed “gross negligence” during the 10-day Onam festival in late August.

Some experts say the decline in cases suggests the virus may have reached a plateau but others question the testing methods. India is relying heavily on antigen tests, which are faster but less accurate than traditional RT-PCR tests.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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