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Oddly Enough

Santa candles get masked up in Greece in COVID-19 surge

THESSALONIKI, Greece (Reuters) - A Greek candlemaker has come up with a novel way of highlighting the need to wear a mask to curb the spread of the new coronvirus; putting them on his Santa candles.

Alexios Gerakis in the northern town of Thessaloniki has made decorative candles featuring Father Christmas, with a big blue surgical mask covering his white beard.

“Because of the times, we are trying to convey a message that health comes first, then everything else,” Gerakis, 37, told Reuters Television. Snowmen are also sporting a mask.

Thessaloniki has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in a second, more aggressive surge which resurfaced in the autumn which forced Greek authorities to reimpose a nationwide lockdown which expires at the end of November.

Greece registered a further 2,198 cases and 58 deaths on Monday, its second highest daily death toll so far. It has reported a total of 78,825 coronavirus infections since February, and 1,228 deaths.

“Christmas is a bit of a question mark for all of us this year I think, we don’t know how this will end. We have to be optimistic, but it’s uncertain what will happen,” Gerakis said.

(This story refiles to fix typo in story identifier)

Reporting by Alexandros Avramidis; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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