Plaudits are piling up for Greece's soft-spoken, low-key spokesman for the New Democracy government's hailed response to fighting the COVID-19 Coronavirus, University of Athens professor and infectious diseases expert Dr. Sotiris Tsiodras.
This time it's from the German weekly Die Zeit which said his advice in helping Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis bring an early lockdown helped save countless lives in a program others said was a model for other countries.
“Of all places, Greece, which was considered a failed state during the euro crisis, is now doing exemplary work in the fight against the coronavirus,” Die Zeit wrote.
“Thanks to the government’s rapid response, the country avoided a health care crisis that many richer countries are facing,” the paper added.
Mitsotakis brought an essential lockdown March, shutting down all non-essential businesses and requiring people to stay at home except for missions such as going to supermarkets, banks, pharmacies, hospitals, walking pets, taking brief exercise or to businesses allowed to remain open.
As of April 22 there were 2,401 cases in Greece and 121 fatalities, among the lowest in the world for countries hardest hit by the virus and far less than other European Union countries such as Spain and Italy which reacted too slowly.
A report published earlier by the French think-tank The Bridge found that Greece has performed better than any other country in Europe in its response to the pandemic.
“Not least thanks to Sotiris Tsiodras,” wrote Die Zeit, adding that as head of the Health Ministry’s committee of experts on contagious diseases, the Harvard-trained professor played a key role in developing the key strategy to contain the deadly virus.