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Greece Best EU Country in COVID-19 Response, Earns Historian's Praise

Αssociated Press

In this Wednesday, April 1, 2020 photo, a view of the virtually empty Syntagma square, with the Greek parliament in the background, in Athens. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Plaudits are piling up for Greece's New Democracy government and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis for an early lockdown that helped prevent the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, the country the European Union's best performer.

A report published on Thursday by French think-tank The Bridge compared the response of 10 countries to the outbreak and their ability to contain it and said Greece was the best, with among the lowest cases and fatalities.

In an analysis of measures adopted in relation to the virus’ first appearance and the first 100 confirmed infections, The Bridge found that, “TRhanks to early and strict containment measures,” Greece, followed by the Czech Republic and Romania, “have successfully managed to flatten the curve and slow down the spread of the virus.”

It said that as a result of delays in “implementing proper lockdown and social distancing measures,” Italy, Spain, France, the United Kingdom, The Netherlands and Belgium were the “most severely hit by the outbreak and have struggled to flatten the curve efficiently.”

“The contrast between Greece – which suspended public events and closed schools even before the first 100 cases were detected – and Spain – which took similar decisions at a much later stage of the epidemic – is particularly striking,” the report noted, said Kathimerini.

That echoed the assessment of noted Israeli historian and philosopher Yuval Noah Harari who told CBS' Late Late Show that, “Greece is doing an amazing job in containing this epidemic,” lauding the benefits to humanity.

“If I had to choose between Greece and the United States for who should be leading the world now, giving us a plan of action, I would definitely choose Greece,” the Israeli philosopher added, saying that “when you look at the actual response of the US, in its own house, to the epidemic, maybe it’s not such a bad thing that it’s not responsible for the world,” an indirect slap at President Donald Trump who kept saying all was well.

Taking to Twitter, Mitsotakis thanked Yuval “for his kind words.”

“During these trying times, everyone has had to make sacrifices, but we stand united and determined in the fight against COVID-19,” the Greek prime minister tweeted.

Yuval stressed that the decisions being taken by governments today “will obviously shape these countries for years to come, not just for a few weeks.”

He also said that it is encouraging to see “that almost all over the world, people have a hidden reservoir of deep trust in science despite the attacks of recent years on science.

“I hope when the crisis is over, people will remember who they really trusted,” he said.

Unlike Trump, who hogs the limelight and news conferences, berates reporters and praises himself despite repeated contradictions, Mitsotakis let scientists and doctors provide guidelines on how to deal with the deadly pandemic.