ATHENS — At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Greece closed its border to all travel earlier than other countries, thus avoiding the full effect of the pandemic's first wave, noted Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the online conference "Beyond the Pandemic: A Radical New Approach to Health Security", held on Tuesday.
But avoiding the impact of the second outbreak was not possible, he added. Yet the government did invest in its national health system, and fared better than richer countries, he underlined.
Greece also had a plan for the reopening of its tourism safely, with the added tool of the self-diagnostic tests, and the Covid-19 digital vaccination certificate, which was a "Greek proposal", as the premier noted.
Mitsotakis also referred to "delays in the launch of vaccinations at EU level," but added that he feels "proud that the EU managed to procure the vaccines on behalf of all its member states."
"Greece went through a lot in previous years, but our democracy came out stronger," he added, while "some lessons were learned in Europe too."
Elaborating on the latter point, he said that the issue of the EU Recovery Fund "showed how Germany seems to have realized that its stance during the previous decade's financial crisis could not be repeated during the coronavirus pandemic, and how the European Union as a whole could deal with its economic fallout thereof."
When social activities return indoors next winter and all adults have secured their inoculation, said Mitsotakis, it will be the right time for the government to consider certain advantages for those who have been vaccinated. For example, he said, some restaurants might not accept customers who are not vaccinated, but only allow entrance to those who have completed their vaccination.
The webinar was organized by the Eurasia Group Institute of Geopolitical Analysis and the organization Flagship Pioneering.