ATHENS – Cautiously optimistic but also anxious about scenes showing Greeks taking to the streets en masse again, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he believes life could gradually return to normal by spring if COVID-19 cases keep falling.
He said that is contingent as well on enough people getting vaccinated after he claimed it was going according to plan but that there weren't enough doses without explaining the contradiction.
Speaking during the online session of the World Economic Forum, Mitsotakis said the supply of vaccines from the European Union is critical and that it has to be accelerated as there's not enough to go around and shortages in many countries.
But then he praised the EU agreements with the big pharmaceutical companies as a “success story” while simultaneously lamenting there isn't enough to make it successful and effective, Greece far short of its goal.
“The EU decision to buy vaccines centrally and distribute them according to the population of its member-states is an act of solidarity,” he said, although the bloc's health officials haven't approved other versions yet.
Referring to the way Greece has dealt with the two waves of the pandemic, he said that “we have learned that we need to listen to experts and scientists and make decisions early,” reported Kathimerini.
He said a first tough lockdown in March, 2020 that lasted 10 weeks for most non-essential businesses had proved strict measures could work but earlier admitted he waited too long to bring a second more lenient shutdown in November.
That was caused by worry about the damage being done to a battered economy and led to an easing of the restrictions that has now seen retail stores, hairdressers and nail salons allowed to have limited customers and a two-hour shopping limit.
All bets could be off, however, if the return to near normality already – crowds flocking shopping areas in Athens and Thessaloniki – sees another resurgence which could bring more restrictions instead.