Vassilis Pliotas, one of the prosecutors on Greece’s Supreme Court, argued Tuesday that all those who refuse to follow mandatory mask orders should be immediately arrested.
He argued to his fellow prosecutors that those who spread skepticism about the deadly coronavirus, and refuse to follow the laws concerning the wearing of facemasks, should receive harsh punishment.
Currently, those who refuse to wear masks in required areas such as schools and other enclosed spaces, such as the workplace, public transit, or any other area where social distancing cannot be applied, are slapped with a fine of €150 ($176), but there is no other punishment.
Pliotas believes that by refusing to wear masks, and encouraging others to do the same, these anti-maskers put their own health and the health of others at risk.
Reportedly, there has been a marked increase of anti-mask posts on social media of late, encouraging the public to go without the face coverings.
Many videos showing the sometimes-heated confrontations between members of the public who refuse to wear masks and those who do, especially on public transit and other crowded areas, have also spread online.
Drivers and other public transit workers have expressed fears to the Greek media about the number of passengers on public transportation who are going without masks. They are also concerned about violent reactions from passengers when asked to put on a face coverings.
There have also been anti-mask demonstrations around the country. Many of these demonstrators are parents who reject the government’s mandatory mask order for all students in schools.
Greece announced a record 453 cases of the virus on Monday, the highest number of cases recorded in a 24-hour period in the country since the beginning of the outbreak. This number also included a large outbreak in the new camp of Kara Tepe on Lesvos, near the old Moria migrant camp.
Concern over the increased virus numbers continues to rise in the country, with some officials pushing for lockdown measures in areas hard-hit by the virus, including the Attica region.