Kathimerini Greece Newsroom
In an interview with CNN on Wednesday night, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that the measures his government has taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus appear to be working and thanked the Greek people for their cooperation, conceding however that “the hard work is still ahead of us.”
He described the trend of coronavirus cases in Greece as “relatively encouraging” compared to other European countries, attributing it to the strict social distancing measures that his administration enforced relatively early. He also thanked Greeks for mostly respecting the lockdown and staying home, noting that only a minority have flouted the restrictions.
The coronavirus crisis has been an opportunity, however, for the government to embrace digital technologies, he said, noting that his administration has made strides in this area in response to the pandemic.
As for the resilience of the Greek state's infrastructure, he was upbeat. “Our healthcare system is coping relatively well,” he said, noting that this was despite the fact that, “it was battered after 10 years of austerity so we were painfully aware of the fact that we were at bigger risk compared to other EU countries.”
Questioned about the situation at overcrowded migrant camps, particularly on the Aegean islands, Mitsotakis noted that there have been no cases of coronavirus at the Moria camp on Lesvos, despite widespread fears of an outbreak. He added that Greece still lacks the support to effectively respond to the continuing challenge posed by migration flows. “Greece is dealing with this problem basically on its own," he said.
He also hit back at criticism about Greece's response to the migration crisis at the Greek-Turkish land border, saying that his government's priority had been to protect his country's and Europe's borders in the face of Turkish provocations.
On Thursday, confirmed cases in Greece were at 1,415, while 51 have died so far. Just 52 have recovered.
Ritsona refugee camp quarantined after 20 test positive for Covid-19
Greek health officials have placed a refugee and migrant camp northeast of the capital in quarantine after 20 of its residents tested positive for Covid-19.
The 20 patients are among 63 residents of the Ritsona camp who were tested immediately after a woman was found to be infected with the highly contagious novel coronavirus earlier this week at a hospital in Athens after giving birth.
None of the 20 people who were found to be infected with the novel coronavirus showed symptoms of the illness, according to reports, while more of the camp’s 2,500 residents will be tested over the next few days.
Under the quarantine rules, no one will be allowed in or out of the camp for the next 14 days.
Medical NGOs and human rights groups have beeing appealing to the Greek government since the start of the pandemic to evacuate the country’s overcrowded migrant and refugee camps to protect their residents and workers from infection.