ATHENS – After admitting he waited too long to bring a second lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is reluctant to pull the trigger on another that would be more restrictive.
With cases jumping and health authorities anxious about a possible third wave of the pandemic, the New Democracy leader was in no rush to tighten a more lenient lockdown that didn’t work.
Daily infections passed the 1000 mark and the case load soared up to 50 percent in the prefecture of Attica, which includes the Greek capital and half the country’s population.
His advisory panel of doctors and scientists were said to have recommended harder measures but the Premier is anxious about a battered economy and the National Health System (ESY) has so far been able to cope with more cases.
There’s also not been a significant spike in the number of people on ventilators in public hospital Intensive Care Units (ICUs) which has made Mitsotakis unready to make the move toward getting tougher, said Kathimerini.
Infectious disease specialist Sotiris Tsiodras, who became the calm voice of reason during a first lockdown that began in March, 2020 and lasted 10 weeks, reportedly said the epidemiological data shows similar to November, 2020, when the Coronavirus surged.
There’s also concern there could be a lag period between the easing of the second lockdown Jan. 25 and when more cases will begin to show, which can take two weeks.
With restaurants, bars and taverns on the brink of seeing half of them close and most businesses battered by being closed half of the previous year, there is hesitation by the government to act too fast although Mitsotakis earlier said he wouldn’t make the same mistake twice nor be slow to get harder.
Another critical factor came from Finance Minister Christos Staikouras who said that a 7.5-billion euro ($8.99 billion) in support measures for businesses and laid-off workers won’t be enough.