ATHENS – With a slow vaccination campaign ramping up, and an one million people expected to get their shots by March, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said “victory is on the horizon,” heralding an expected end of the pandemic.
He gave the assessment in an article of the newspaper Ta Nea in which he acknowledged the fight against the Coronavirus will go on as cases have continued to stay high during a third lockdown aimed at slowing its spread, not working fully.
The first infection in Greece was reported on Feb. 26, 2020 and the number of cases in the year since has reached 189,831, with 6,468 deaths and occupancy rates still high in public hospital Intensive Care Units (ICU’s.)
He said the health crisis would end quicker if only people would obey health measures including wearing masks, staying safe social distances and not having public gatherings or parties, the number of cases high because many haven’t.
“If we draw strength from the many difficulties that lie behind us and walk these last steps that separate us from the spring of freedom with discipline … the end (of the pandemic) will come sooner,” he wrote.
The shutdowns have shattered the lives of many business owners who won’t reopen even when the pandemic ends, unable to sustain massive losses from being required to close their doors more half the time of the pandemic.
Hardalias: One year after the first COVID-19 case in Greece we have entered the final stretch of this huge trial
"From the first moment, a year ago, that the Prime Minister assigned us the main coordination of all the involved agencies against the health crisis, all of us in the Civil Protection saw in this unprecedented threat a major wager, to prove that Greece can have an effective, modern Civil Protection that would be a real shield for every citizen, stated to Athens-Macedonian News Agency Civil Protection Deputy Minister Nikos Hardalias on Sunday.
"We created new digital tools and developed an innovative procedure to track down COVID-19 cases and their close contacts and we continue this exhausting procedure every day that allow us to keep the pandemic under control, even in the present most aggressive phase. We achieved to complete in an exemplary way by implementing good practices that made Greece a model worldwide, the opening of tourism and the safe reopening of the international connections by creating an original recording, surveillance and epidemiological profile for every traveller. We are contributing with all our forces to the national goal, the so-called the Eleftheria project, by enhancing the operational effort of the armed forces for the safe transfer of the vaccines and by creating four mega vaccination centres with Promitheas centre in Maroussi, Athens, and TIF-Helexpo in Thessaloniki already operating and vaccinating thousands of citizens every day, and we continue" Hardalias underlined.
"One year after the first COVID-19 case in Greece we have entered, thanks to the vaccine, the final stretch before the end of this huge trial. Until May, as the Prime Minister said, all citizens over 60 and all those with underlying health issues will have been vaccinated. This will be a huge breather for our health system and we hope that will allow us to gradually return to normality" Hardalias said.
Material from Athens-Macedonian News Agency was used in this report