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Politics

Petsas: We Have Never Ruled Out the Possibility of a Local Lockdown

September 23, 2020

ATHENS — Government spokesperson Stelios Petsas pointed out the government's efforts to restore the damage from the Mediterranean hurricane 'Ianos' in an interview with the public broadcaster ERT on Wednesday. He also referred to the health crisis, the exploratory contacts with Turkey and migration, for which the European Commission is to present its proposals on Wednesday.

"It was a Medicane that brought many problems and destruction, we will be judged by how quickly we restore the damage for those stricken," Petsas said.

On the developments concerning the pandemic, he underlined that "we have been taking measures since July and especially since early August but, despite the measures, it appears that the cases have stabilised at a level that is high. These cases are slowly putting pressure on the health system, which we had not seen for a long time. So, we are moving in two directions. The first is to provide more ICU beds to the health system and the other is to ask that citizens adhere to the measures. It is really crucial to follow the measures in order to avoid something worse, which will have an impact on the economy."

However, he said that the government has not ruled out a local lockdown and "we have done it many times in the past, in Thrace, Achaia, Ilia and other places. Now the epidemiological burden is huge in the Attica region and especially in the municipality of Athens. We are examining how we can be more effective in controlling cases on the municipal level. If this is not feasible, then we do not rule out the possibility of additional measures but this is something that the experts will decide but, for the time being, it is not where we are and we will not reach that point if we follow the measures."

He also announced that a platform will be ready in a few days time that will allow every person to find out the pandemic measures in effect in a particular area by typing in the postcode at that location.

On the exploratory contacts with Turkey, Petsas said that the starting date for the talks will become known in a few days, while noting that the de-escalation on Turkey's part was a positive step that is now becomes something tangible, such as the resumption of the exploratory contacts.

Concluding he commented on the migration problem, noting: "Today we will see the European Commission's proposals on the new migration framework, as we are heading toward a new Dublin [Treaty]. We have talked with Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarachi and the things now on the table are relatively satisfactory. We are waiting for them to be officially announced and to see how the other member-states react to determine what our next move will be. It is a first step that will be taken today in the right direction".

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