Greece is in its last critical two-month battle against Covid-19, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told parliament on Friday adding that hopes were now on self-testing and vaccination.
Mitsotakis said Greece was the first country to introduce self-tests, adding that at the same time the goal is to achieve an initial “immunity wall” against the deadly virus by Easter.
The Greek PM stressed that Greece was facing a new Covid-19 attack as was all of Europe with new emerging strains making the challenge even greater.
He said the government was addressing day by day the impact of the pandemic on the economy and informing residents and opposition parties regularly of all actions.
According to Mitsotakis, Greece has been ranked 23rd in Europe in terms of human losses per million. “If we were among the European average, we would have lost another 8,000 people; a whole town,” he said.
He added that Greece was ranked 5th among EU countries with regard to the number of people vaccinated with the second dose.
“Managing the pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Mitsotakis, adding that despite the great difficulties, Greece has done better than countries with better health systems.
Referring to the recent spike in Covid-19 cases – 3,491 new cases in the last 24 hours – particularly in the wider Athens area, Mitsotakis acknowledged the feeling of fatigue among the people who have been in lock down for more than four months which has led to carelessness.
The situation needs a new realistic assessment, he said, referring to the decision to allow inter-municipal travel this week.
The prime minister also referred to the re-opening of retail on Monday, a measure he believes will have a positive effect as long as citizens adhere to the rules. Based on the developments, the government will re-examine the operation of schools next week, he said.
“More freedom means more responsibility,” said Mitsotkakis warning however that if crowding persists containment measures will return.
Lastly the PM said that 40 billion euros in total support has already gone into the economy since the start of the pandemic, adding that 330 million euros announced yesterday will go towards supporting ailing F&B services providers to re-start operations.
In response to the government’s decision to re-open shops and ease measures this week, US-based Greek medical doctor and National Cancer Institute researcher Giorgos Pavlakis said it was a “world first for a country to open at the peak of a pandemic wave”, warning that a fourth wave of the deadly virus may be on its way in the coming fall.
Speaking on SKAI television, Pavlakis stressed that if Greece had not introduced containment measures there would be triple the number of cases, and added that a full two- to three-week lockdown would lead to significant improvement.