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Politics

Locked-Down Greece Swears in Cabinet on Tuesday

ATHENS — Greece's new Cabinet is being sworn in Tuesday at three separate ceremonies to comply with national lockdown restrictions.

Following a Cabinet reshuffle Monday by conservative Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, ministers were sworn in in groups of six, all wearing masks, and after receiving rapid tests for COVID-19.

A bottle of hand sanitizer was placed on a desk where ministers signed their oaths or affirmations.

The first six of the new ministers and deputy ministers joining the government or switching portfolios were sworn in by Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece at the presidential mansion on Tuesday at 11:00, in the presence of the President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The new members of cabinet have been split up into three groups as a measure to protect against the spread of Covid-19.

The first group included Kostis Hatzidakis, the new labour minister, Kostas Skrekas who is taking over the environment ministry, Makis Voridis who will lead the interior ministry, Spilios Livanos who is the new rural development minister, Vassilis Kontozamanis who has become alternate health minister and Stelios Petsas, who is now alternate interior minister.

The second group of new members of the cabinet arrived at the presidential mansion to be sworn in at 11:45 on Tuesday. As for the first group, before entering the presidential mansion they each did a rapid test for coronavirus as a precaution.

The second group includes Thodoris Livanios, who was appointed deputy minister to the prime minister, Christos Tarantilis who takes over from Stelios Petsas as government spokesperson, Zetta Makri and Angelos Syriggos, who have been appointed as deputy education ministers, Maria Syreggela, as deputy labour minister, and Giorgos Kotsiras, as a deputy justice minister.

Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos did not conduct the ceremony for the second group, who are all deputy ministers.

The ceremonies to swear in the new members of the cabinet, as well as those that were transferred to different ministries, were concluded before President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Tuesday, with the arrival of the last group of eight new deputy ministers at the presidential mansion.

The last group sworn in using a religious oath included Stavros Kalafatis, deputy minister of the interior, Sofia Voultepsi, deputy migration and asylum minister, Giorgos Stylios, the deputy digital governance minister, Kostas Katsafados, the deputy shipping and island policy minister, Yiannis Economou, deputy rural development minister and Sofia Zacharaki, the deputy tourism minister.

The last two deputy ministers, Giorgos Amyras at the environment ministry and Nikolaos Giatromanolakis at the culture ministry, were sworn into office via a civil affirmation.

As for the previous two groups, they were given a rapid test for Covid-19 before entering the presidential mansion.

A current two-month lockdown officially ends Thursday, but government officials say many restrictions will be extended to allow for a successful rollout of the coronavirus vaccine. The program started just before the new year and is being significantly ramped up this week.

Lockdown restrictions include a nightly curfew and a government-imposed stay-at-home order. Household members can only leave their homes using an itemized permission system available on mobile phones.

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