Petsas: ‘We are entering the most crucial phase of the battle against the coronavirus’

Greece has taken protective and restrictive measures against the coronavirus pandemic until the end of April, said government spokesman Stelios Petsas at a remote-held press briefing on Thursday, replying to a question about the outbreak’s effect on tourism. 

What happens after April depends greatly on how the pandemic develops in coming weeks, as Greece has now suspended flights and other travel connections with foreign countries. Much depends on the pandemic’s strains on the national health system and those of other countries, he said.

We have taken measures, and will review our stance at the end of April,” Petsas underlined. 

Speaking on the measures at hotspots after 20 people tested positive to the virus at Ristona refugee center on the mainland, he said that Ritsona is on quarantine while preventive measures have been taken at all refugee facilities since the start of the pandemic. Exit has been restricted at all refugee faciliites, isolation tents have been set up and medical stations created. The transfers of all migrants granted asylum have been suspended until May 31, while refugees are being updated daily in 14 languages, Petsas noted.

On measures to support the economy Petsas referred to the online platform platform where employees can claim their 800 euro emergency payout. These economic measures concern 1.7 million employees or 8 in 10 private sector employees, 700,000 or 3 in 4 freelancers, self-employed and small business owners, and 800,000 or 3 in 4 businesses.

The government spokesman noted that despite the extraordinary circumstances, the first tranche of birth allowance was duly paid on Tuesday to 7,203 mothers totalling 7,413,000 euros. 

“We are entering the most crucial phase in the battle against the coronavirus,” Petsas highlighted. 

On all fronts, Greece is doing better than other countries but this does not, however, permit complacency, he added.

Petsas welcomed the fact that the vast majority of Greeks were complying with the instructions to stay home but noted that, unfortunately, a few were abusing the leeway given under the restrictions.

He also said that this year, Greeks will be spending Easter at home, staying away from villages and rural areas to protect “all of our lives and those of our loved ones.”

Commenting on the Holy Synod’s decision for “closed-door” services without a congregation, he called it responsible and reasonable.


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