ATHENS – A former alternate health minister for the previous ruling SYRIZA leftists was rebuked by rival politicians for not wearing a COVID-19 mask in a photo showing himself having dinner at a friend's house.
Pavlos Polakis, a firebrand for the party who continued to chain smoke in the health ministry and refused to obey No Smoking laws, was at the table with friends also not wearing masks, common among families or friends.
Still, the ruling New Democracy chided him as well as party leader Alexis Tsipras for the image which came during a second wave of the pandemic during a lockdown when people are supposed to stay home except for allowed missions.
Asked by Star TV about the behavior of Polakis and the picture showing people seated next to each other and not observing a safe social distance, Tsipras said it didn't help the cause of getting people to wear safety masks.
But he also said Polakis had undergone a coronavirus test a few hours earlier and tested negative. “His participation in the meal was not negative in itself as he had taken the test, but it could be perceived as inciting citizens (not to observe safety protocols,)” he said.
In a statement, ruling New Democracy accused Tsipras of essentially covering for Polakis, with Kathimerini saying that other people in SYRIZA it didn't name were unhappy over the photo as well.