Greek Finance Minister Christos Staikouras announced a four-pronged emergency plan to address the economic impact of the coronavirus including boosting health ministry funds and suspension of VAT payments.
Speaking to the press on Monday, Staikouras said that an additional 15 million euros would be allocated to the health ministry in view of increased needs due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has thus far infected 89 people.
Other emergency measures include suspending March VAT payments and social security contributions for four months in sectors and areas where business activity has stopped for over 10 days.
“The coronavirus spread on global, European, and national levels has had significant ramifications, primarily on public health, and by extent on the economy,” said Staikouras.
The minister added that according to data, “the effects on the economy will be short-lived, but will ultimately be far more significant and painful than the initially estimated”.
The minister urged calm, alertness and foresight, and added that the issue will be discussed during the upcoming Eurogroup meeting next week.
The ministry’s plan focuses on four key areas: awareness-raising actions which include informing the public of developments with regard to the coronavirus epidemic; initiatives aimed at strengthening the public health system; fiscal measures aimed at ensuring liquidity and safeguarding employment; and lastly, coordination among EU members on the Covid-19 front.