ATHENS — "The citizens understand who is investing in the idea of unity and who is stoking social tensions," Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Friday in parliament, in reply to a question raised by main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance leader Alexis Tsipras.
Rejecting the criticism levelled against the government, Mitsotakis stressed the need for society to pull together in the "crucial weeks that lie ahead of us".
"Rage cannot be blind. You, Mr. Tsipras are not my enemy. Our enemy is the coronavirus. In times like these, societies need unity, solidarity," he said.
"You had the opportunity to rise to the occasion and do what you hypocritically stated you are interested in, Mr. Tsipras. Instead, I counted the word 'accuse' 17 times. I return the accusation because you embody hypocrisy," the prime minister said, and added: "I will talk about the great danger of some turning the pandemic against health into a danger against society and exploiting the 'incendiary fuel' of the weariness with the restrictive measures, which we all admit are necessary. To light a fire that will torch social unity."
"The coronavirus pandemic is being addressed in our country," Mitsotakis continued, presenting comparative data on the management of the pandemic in Greece versus the rest of Europe. "Every day there are 35,000 vaccinations that rank Greece in 5th place among European countries. We can safely tell the Greeks that the end of this ordeal is now is sight."
However, "until that time the mutations make the virus more dangerous. It is necessary to wear masks, maintain social distancing, avoid unnecessary congestion and observe personal hygiene."
"In terms of mortality, Greece has the 4th best performance in Europe. It is unacceptable at a time when the country is preparing to open up and welcome tourists in the summer, for you to come and discredit the country's effort," the prime minister added, and accused Tsipras of expressing a small minority that wants hostility and division.