ATHENS – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis began his speech at a meeting of ruling New Democracy’s Parliamentary Group on Tuesday by referring to the fourth wave of the pandemic.
“I am starting with the outbreak of the pandemic, not only in Greece but throughout Europe, with a five-digit number of cases. It is clear that we are facing a strong fourth wave, which also brings losses to our country,” he said.
“Our response to this latest surge in the virus is a new wave of vaccinations. We still have difficult weeks ahead of us, but there is also a more positive side to things. In the last few days alone, almost 200,000 appointments have been made for the first dose and almost 300,000 for a booster shot,” the prime minister said.
Mitsotakis also emphasised that the new pandemic wave will not lead to general lockdowns and restrictions: “We have the vaccine and this makes a difference, it is what prevents a direct correlation between case numbers and grave hospitalisations, it is what leaves the economy open to produce and society open to move.”
Consequently, the prime minister added, “that is why we insist on four key positions:
– First, that there will be no lockdown in the country again
– Secondly, that the vaccinated will not be saddled with new restrictions at a time when the unvaccinated should be protected by more testing and checks.
– Thirdly, a continuous reinforcement of the national health system, especially in the regions under pressure. We will do whatever is necessary in order to add human resources to the national health system, where we have shortages, if necessary we will forcibly requisition both services and staff. The Minister of Health has the absolute authority to act sooner.
“Fourth, a continuous increase in the rate of vaccinations”.
“Our economy is growing at a much faster rate than we had initially estimated,” Mitsotakis underlined.
“I would not be surprised if the 6.1 pct growth rate is revised upwards,” he said, adding: “But the most important thing is to reduce unemployment. Reducing inequalities is a non-negotiable priority for us and we will insist on creating new jobs and attracting investment because they reduce inequalities.”
“Greece really has turned a page,” Mitsotakis said. “From an observer in the Mediterranean, it has become a hub of power in the last two years. I will not refer to the green certificate and our contribution to the establishment of the Recovery Fund, but I will say that this government established national borders as European by introducing the doctrine of security and humanity in migration.”
Mitsotakis stressed: “The Greek citizen feels equal as a citizen of the world, because our country has regained its prestige internationally. The agreement with France upgrades the deterrent power of our country.”