The universal ban – the so-called ‘total lockdown’ of the Attica Prefecture that contains Athens and Piraeus – was announced earlier this week.
I see both sides to this decision.
First I see the sad side. That the situation in the country has reached such a bad point that these measures are considered necessary to protect the health of the population of Attica.
And, secondly, I see the admirable sense of responsibility shown by the Prime Minister of the country in making this decision.
Undoubtedly, such a decision is extremely difficult. There are many parameters to consider. From many points of view – from the issue of population health, to the economy, to politics.
Who would disagree that health is certainly paramount? That is what the Prime Minister did. He put the protection of the health of the inhabitants of the area above all else.
Let us not take this for granted. Consider, for example, how different the situation would be here in the United States if former President Donald Trump had acted responsibly, that is, if he had followed the advice of the scientists over the past year.
We would have avoided tens of thousands of deaths. The children would not have wasted their academic time. And the economy would not have collapsed to the extent that it did.
It is also important for Greece not to miss this year's tourist season. If this happens, the consequences will be extremely negative. Many hotels would be padlocked. Their employees would be driven to despair. The overall economy would get worse.
Of course, along with the restrictive measures, the vaccination of the inhabitants should be accelerated. According to NPR, more than 44 million people have been vaccinated so far in the U.S. (with at least one dose of the vaccine). That is over 10% of the population.
The rate of vaccination in Greece does not depend on the country itself, but on the European Union, which is responsible for obtaining the supply of vaccines and from there distributes them to its member countries.
Unfortunately, the EU has made a mess of the distribution.
But as in the United States, the rate of vaccination is accelerating. Companies producing the vaccines are now better organized. The same goes for the countries as a whole. But at any rate, they must fight for much faster vaccination.
The coronavirus has hit the elderly mercilessly. Worse than any other age group. But consider the harm to children who will miss a whole year of their schooling. Yes, they do take online classes, but experts say that is not the same as being in the classroom. On the other hand, a significant percentage of them do not have computers or the Internet. That’s a big problem.
I think the authorities in the United States are right to think that the children should take lessons in the summer when the situation will be better.
(On a related note, I would like to emphasize that the reforms proposed by the Minister of Education of Greece are correct – they are fair, they are absolutely necessary and they should have been done decades ago. This opportunity should not be missed for the students or for Greece. It is the ticket for progress).
I know we are all tired of the coronavirus situation. Almost all of us have either lost a loved one, or know someone who died from it. We are all suffering from its financial consequences.
But let us all have a little more patience. Let's do what we can to make the day go by faster. As the government is doing in Athens.