ATHENS, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Greece bans all flights from the UK and travelers by all means of transport from Turkey as of Monday until April 15, the government announced, in the framework of measures to address the COVID-19 epidemic.
The temporary restrictions are imposed for preventive reasons for the protection of public health, alternate government spokesperson Aristotelia Peloni explained during a press briefing.
Regarding Turkey, Greek authorities suspend also sea, road, and rail links and ban the entrance of people. The exemptions concern Greek citizens, people who have residence permits or permanent residence in Greece, as well as the transport of goods by road or sea, she added.
Greece has introduced similar bans in recent days for other countries with increased confirmed novel coronavirus cases, such as Italy and Spain.
Greece proceeded as of Monday morning to a 14-day nationwide lockdown after shutting down schools, universities, restaurants, coffee shops, shopping malls, retail shops, sports and cultural centers, as well as public parks in previous days.
Those who will violate the measure face a minimum of 150 euro (162 U.S. dollars) fine.
The proceeds raised from such fines will be used to support the national healthcare system, Peloni said.
The government has hired an extra 2,000 medics in recent days, allocated millions of euros to the health ministry and received donations of masks and extensive care unit equipment by many donors.
On Monday, the health ministry called on professionals such as retired doctors, doctors working in the private sector, nurses, paramedics, and medical students to submit applications to volunteer participating in the battle against the virus.
According to the latest official count revealed on Sunday evening, Greece has so far 15 fatalities related to COVID-19 and a total of 624 confirmed infections.