GR US

No Quarantine for Mitsotakis After Meeting Archbishop Infected With COVID-19

Αssociated Press

FILE - In this July 17, 2019, file photo, Greek Orthodox Archbishop Ieronymos, center, blesses lawmakers during a swearing in ceremony at the parliament in Athens. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis, File)

ATHENS - Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis won't go into a self-quarantine desite having a maskless meeting with Archbishop Ieronymos who then tested positive for COVID19.

That's a requirement for others but government spokesman Stelios Petsas said it doesn't apply to Mitsotakis, who was seated a safe social distance from the Archbishop after their meeting to talk about the pandemic and effect on the Church.

The Archbishop was admitted to a hospital, days after Metropolitan Bishop Ioannis of Lagadas, 62, an outspoken advocate of allowing Holy Communion despite the risk of spreading the disease through saliva, died from the Coronavirus.

Petsas said health experts expressed the opinion that there is "no reason" for a precautionary quarantine after they said it was for other people, no explanation given for the contradiction.

Mitsotakis met with Ieronymos at the Archbishop's office on Nov. 14 after both had tested negative, no details given of how the cleric got the disease or may have had it during the meeting but may have been asymptomatic.

After getting another test, Mitsotakis went to the United Arab Emirates on business and Petsas said the Premier will continue being tested and follow health protocols but won't self-isolate himself, which still applies to others.

The 82-year-old Ieronymos was showing mild symptoms and the admission to the special care unit at Evangelismos Hospital – reserved for those with critical conditions - was done for precautionary reasons, SKAI TV said.

His spokesperson, Haris Konidaris, said the Archbishop does not have any particular health issues and that had a mild fever.

“I participate personally as a shepherd in the ordeal that concerns thousands of our brothers in our country and millions throughout the world,” the Archbishop told his close associates shortly before his admission to hospital.

The Archbishop of Albania, Anastasios, was also being treated for COVID-19 in the same hospital, after being airlifted to Greece last week, the cases coming after the Church said critics were being “neurotic” in telling the Church how to deal with the pandemic and not allow Holy Communion.

On Nov. 11 it was announced Ieronymos and members of the Holy Synod were instructed to self-isolate after a senior cleric tested positive for the virus but he met with Mitsotakis three days later, not quarantining himself.