Greeks ignore virus lockdown as temperatures soar

·1-min read
People play at a beach near Athens on January 10, 2021, as temperatures in Athens are over 20 C degrees.

A heatwave bringing temperatures as high as 28 Celsius (82 F) prompted Greeks to cut loose during their coronavirus lockdown Sunday and flock to beaches and parks.

According to the National Observatory of Athens, the temperature in Chania, on the southern island of Crete, was 28.3 C around noon, one of the highest January temperatures of the last 50 years.

Normal Greek temperatures this time of the year are around 15 C.

In Athens, where thermometers reached 22 C, people flocked to nearby beaches, squares and parks.

"It's great weather and we are inside our homes so much of the time", a man told Skai TV from Kavouri beach, near Athens, were many people were walking and some also took a dip.

The warm weather from Africa also brought fair amounts of dust to Greece and is forecast to keep temperatures high until Wednesday.

Police monitored the situation to try and avoid overcrowding.

Officers with loudspeakers reminded people to practice social distancing and fined those who did not wear masks.

Greece has been in lockdown since early November, as authorities try to avoid a third wave of the pandemic after Christmas and New Eve celebrations.

On Friday, restrictions that were supposed to end on January 11 were extended for another week. Only nurseries, kindergartens and primary schools are to open on Monday.

On Sunday, authorities announced 36 new deaths. More than 4,000 of Greece's 5,263 reported pandemic deaths have occurred in the past two months.