Greece may have seen a rise in coronavirus (Covid-19) cases but, according to government officials, a second nationwide lockdown will not be imposed.
Speaking on Greek state broadcaster ERT 1 on Saturday, Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said that Greece has not lost control of the situation, unlike some of its competitor countries.
“We are constantly monitoring the situation and we are on alert. We have multiple and consecutive lines of defense to protect the population,” the minister said.
Four lines of defense
First line: Greece is opening its gates to tourists from countries which, according to the epidemiologists, have the lowest risk of infection and transmission of the coronavirus.
Second line: Greece is conducting checks at all entry points.
Third line: Greece has announced health protocols and social distancing rules.
Fourth line: The minister said the fourth defense line, and most important for everyone’s safety, “concerns us all”: that we all observe the protocols and do not relax from wearing face masks and following social distancing rules.
“I am optimistic in the medium term, because I already see the pressure from third countries, such as the US and Russia, for us to open to them as well… We prefer to take careful steps with some restrictions and not relax, in order to benefit even more in the future,” he said, referring to 2020 as an “investment for the future, for the coming years”.
Hardalias: No lockdown, Imported cases are low
Greece’s deputy minister for Civil Protection and Crisis Management, Nikos Hardalias, also ruled out the possibility of Greece going under another lockdown.
In an interview in Greek newspaper Parapolitika on Saturday, Hardalias pointed out that the percentage of imported Covid-19 cases in Greece remains low.
“There is no issue of a general lockdown, as in recent months we have taken targeted local measures, which have proven their effectiveness,” the minister said.
Hardalias underlined that the goal is for Greece not to impose further measures.
“That is why we must all continue to follow the instructions of experts and avoid any type of overcrowding,” he said.
The country’s most recent measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus include extending Covid-19 rules on organized beaches; banning of all village festivals in the country; and making face masks in supermarkets mandatory for staff and shoppers.
The deputy minister underlined that the government was strengthening checks to ensure that measures are being followed throughout the country and that fines will be imposed to those who do not comply.
It is noted that Greek Deputy Minister Nikos Hardalias will be informing the public on Covid-19 developments through televised updates every Tuesday.
Kikilias: It’s up to us to avoid a second wave
On his part, Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias reminded that the key to Greece’s success during the first phase of Covid-19 was the country’s vigilance that included timely measures and the compliance of the citizens.
“Our attitude towards the coronavirus will determine the attitude of the coronavirus towards us,” he said in an interview to Real News on Sunday.
“It is up to us not to have a second wave. From an epidemiological perspective, we are not in a worse position than we were in the outbreak of the first wave,” Kikilias said.
The minister underlined that mainly citizens of a young age are those who are not following the simple rules of precaution, which include wearing face masks, especially indoors and when on public transport; frequent hand washing and using antiseptic; and following social distancing rules.
“We can still enjoy our vacation this summer, but in a more safe way,” he said.
Greece on Sunday recorded 24 new coronavirus cases, raising the total number to 4,007. Out of the new cases, 16 were “imported” from abroad. It should be noted that on Saturday, 19 new cases were reported with none recorded at the country’s entry points. Greece’s coronavirus death toll is at 194, still among the lowest among EU member-states.