ATHENS - The best use of a gift by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) was the focus of a videoconference held by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and SNF Board President Andreas Dracopoulos on Friday evening.
Besides other longer-term initiatives including building three hospitals in Greece, the foundation will allocate to Greece a significant portion of an international initiative to fight the coronavirus pandemic worth 100 million dollars.
Mitsotakis prioritized the increase of beds in intensive care units (ICU) throughout Greece. "We know that it's likely this pandemic will return in the fall," he said, "and we also know very well that we have begun to face this crisis from a clearly more disadvantaged position than other countries in terms of ICU beds." Despite the government's fast catching up in this sector, "Greece is still behind the European average," he pointed out, and the country needs an additional 500 beds.
The premier also noted the role of front-line medical staff, and the recognition of their services and dangers they face reflected by a special bonus. He also noted the government's move to exempt all donations from VAT.
On his side, Dracopoulos said that the foundation's priorities were to support medical and other staff in ICUs, and to guarantee that those in isolation at home, especially the most vulnerable, are fed and supported psychologically.
"Our medium-term target is to review how to include in this initiative for health those infrastructures and actions that will help our country in similar challenges in the near future," Dracopoulos said, "and in the long term to support those who will face economic and social repercussions, which are certain to affect the weakest as soon as the health crisis ends."
The teleconference was attended by officers of the prime minister's office and of the SNF.