ATHENS – Tilting full speed toward an economic recovery, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis rejected criticism of his handling of the resurging COVID-19 pandemic and said there will be control measures, but no more lockdowns.
Speaking during a meeting with restaurateurs and food business owners upset with rules requiring the unvaccinated to show negative tests before entering establishments, he said that, “There will be no shutdown of economic and social activity. Vaccinated persons will not be deprived of their freedoms.”
That came as his own panel of health advisors said they feared a fourth wave this autumn and winter but he said he will stick with trying to control rabid anti-vaxxers and not punish the vaccinated with lockdowns.
Policing is not enough to ensure the success of the measures announced by the authorities, Mitsotakis said. “We also need cooperation; and this appears to have been forged by means of persuasion,” he said, although the paper earlier said the government was forging a backup plan in case the health crisis got worse.
Mitsotakis started his address by thanking the catering and trade sectors for their high level of responsibility, as shown by their careful observance of the new measures. “I repeat that the economy and society will not shut down again. The vaccinated will not be deprived of their freedoms and those who have not yet been vaccinated should be protected. But for all the above to happen, apart from policing we also need collaboration and as it appears that, with persuasion as our main weapon, we are obtaining this,” he said.
The prime minister also underlined that “after a certain point, we ourselves become the police of our health and you the protectors of the health of your employees and clients.”
On the economy, Mitsotakis noted that the difficulties are over due to the 42 billion euros of funds mobilised at all levels. The major difference with the other waves of the pandemic is that the vaccine is now available, he added, and referred to the three keys that will open the door to the “exit” from the crisis.
– the vaccination of those that have not yet been persuaded to do so
– the third ‘booster’ shot for those already vaccinated
– the everyday protection and hygiene measures.