Christmas candles depicting Santa Claus with mask displayed in Thessaloniki

Christmas candles depicting Santa Claus wearing a protective mask are displayed at the shop of candlemaker Alexis Gerakis, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, in Thessaloniki, Greece, November 16, 2020. Picture taken November 16, 2020. REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/GREECE-XMAS CANDLES

18-11-2020ALEXANDROS AVRAMIDIS

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.

Candlemaker Gerakis puts the final touches on Christmas candle in Thessaloniki

"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.

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