ATHENS | A heat wave with temperature peaks of 28 degrees Celsius on Sunday prompted Greeks to significantly relax during confinement and to visit beaches and parks in droves.
• Read also: The latest developments on the coronavirus
According to the Athens National Observatory, the temperature in Chania, on the southern island of Crete, reached 28.3 degrees around noon, one of the highest January temperatures in fifty years.
Typical temperatures at this time of year in Greece are around 15 degrees.
In Athens, where thermometers hit 22 °, people flocked to beaches, squares and parks.
“The weather is wonderful and we are stuck at home most of the time,” a man told Skai TV, from Kavouri beach near Athens, explaining his presence on the sand where many people were walking and where some were swimming.
The hot wind from Africa has also brought in quite a bit of dust and is expected to keep temperatures high until Wednesday in that country.
The police monitored the situation to try to avoid too large concentrations of population. Police officers equipped with loudspeakers reminded people to practice social distancing and fined those who did not wear masks.
Greece has been in quarantine since early November, with authorities trying to avoid a third wave of the pandemic after the Christmas and New Year holidays. On Friday, restrictions that were due to end on January 11 were extended by a week. Only nurseries, kindergartens and primary schools must open on Mondays.
Authorities announced 36 new deaths on Sunday. More than 4,000 of the 5,263 deaths from the pandemic in Greece have occurred in the past two months.