ATHENS - Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis thanked the 18 nurses who came to Thessaloniki voluntarily from other parts of Greece to help the city's hospitals deal with increased coronavirus hospitalizations, in a video conference he held with them on Saturday.
The Prime Minister spoke of the nurses' decision to offer their services as "not only an act of kindness, but also a deeply patriotic gesture."
Bania Malamati, who traveled to Thessaloniki's 'Ippokrateion' General Hospital from Crete's town of Agios Nikolaos, spoke on behalf of the nurses to say that "even though we were all applauded for our decision, it is the health workers at Thessaloniki's hospitals who deserve a very big 'bravo' for their efforts."
In return, Mitsotakis stressed that both the offer of volunteers and the efforts of all health workers prove that "the notions of responsibility and social solidarity are not just empty words," adding that the human factor always "makes the difference."
The Prime Minister underlined that the government has doubled the number of intensive care beds, now exceeding 1,200 nationwide, and has also proceeded with mass recruitments, many of whom will be permanently hired; he noted that another 170 permanent ICU beds are expected over the next two months.
Referring to the government's decision to requisition two private clinics and their staff in Thessaloniki to ease the burden of the coronavirus pandemic, he said that "when public health is threatened (...) there is no distinction between state and private action," as all actions are pursued in view of the public's benefit.
Mitsotakis raised the significance of observing all standing safety measures and restrictions against the pandemic with due diligence, and told the nurses (comprising 17 women, 1 man) that all citizens and health workers need to stay patient a little while longer, as Greece will soon be relieved by the arrival of the coronavirus vaccines.