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Politics

SYRIZA Demands Greece’s COVID-19 Panel Reveal Meeting Talks

ATHENS – Greece’s major opposition and former ruling SYRIZA insisted that the New Democracy government releases minutes of meetings of the panel of doctors and scientists giving advice on how to handle the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Leftists have denounced Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis for going back and forth between stringent and lenient measures that have failed to contain the Coronavirus despite a five-month pseudo-lockdown.

Publishing the proceedings of the meetings, which influence government decisions on lockdowns and other public health safety measures, “is a matter of democracy,” the leftist party’s spokesman, Nassos Iliopoulos said.

“Anyone who watched the parliamentary debate … heard Mr. Mitsotakis say that he has a plan for reopening the retail market, but by that same evening it had changed completely. So, either the government did not have the data about the pandemic or it did not follow the recommendations of the experts,” Iliopoulos told Real FM.

SYRIZA said the government’s approach hasn’t worked and led to drastic economic consequences for businesses, only now allowed to reopen with a series of confusing conditions.

Indeed, shoppers appeared befuddled on April 5 with the easing of the lockdown and stores using a variety of allowed methods, such as limiting the numbers inside and with time limits for purchases.

Stores in the country’s second and third largest cities of Thessaloniki and Patra remain closed, as they do in Kozani and the health panel reportedly considering pulling back openings in Athens and the Attica prefecture, said Kathimerini, but didn’t. 

Retail businesses are desperate for customers in the run-up to Easter on May 2 and Holy Week, a big revenue period for them, with worry that rising cases will make the government shut them down again.

There was also defiance of conditions set for shopping with the major retail store Notos chain fined 8,00 euros ($9455) for opening without following the required rules, the paper said.

Trying to make the most of time allowed, many chains have limited customers inside to 20 to 30 minutes with no report how it would be enforced or how people could shop that fast, including waiting in line to pay.

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