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15 August, 2020
 
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Greece will be better prepared for second wave of Covid-19, PM says

Mitsotakis said health authorities will be smarter in testing tracking, while many ICU beds have been added compared to March

Kathimerini Greece Newsroom

Greece will be better prepared if the coronavirus pandemic resurfaces in fall, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on a television interview on Sunday night.

Mitsotakis said Greek society is better prepared, having adopted social distancing and protective measures, while many more beds have been added in intensive care units than what existed last March.

He also said that health authorities will be “smarter” in testing and tracking, by taking more targeted measures to stop the spread of the virus.

“We hope that even if the virus strikes, we will not need to take horizontal measures … We can be smarter in the measures we take,” he   told the Synthesis current affairs show.

Asked whether he believed Greece would be lucky in fall and not face a second wave, he said: “I would not invest in luck. And I would certainly not leave the country unprepared in any way for the very serious possibility, the high probability, of the coronavirus returning in some way in the fall or winter. But we will be more prepared.”

Greece restarts summer tourism

Greece reopened its main airports to more international flights on Monday, hoping to kick-start its vital tourism sector after three months in lockdown.

Tourism employs about 700,000 people and accounts for some 20% of Greece's economic output, so how the sector fares is significant for the country's recovery. Greece emerged from a decade-long debt crisis two years ago.

About 33 million tourists visited the Mediterranean nation last year, generating revenues of 19 billion euros.

Passengers arriving from airports deemed high-risk by the European Union's aviation safety agency will be tested for the coronavirus and quarantined up to 14 days, depending on the test result. Restrictions remain for passengers from Britain and Turkey. Arrivals from other airports will be randomly tested.

Restrictions on movement imposed in March helped Greece contain the spread of Covid-19 infections to just above 3,000 cases, a relatively low number compared with other EU countries. But it brought the economy to a standstill.

The conservative government now faces the tough task of opening the country to foreign visitors while allaying public concerns about a new virus outbreak.

From the picturesque island of Santorini, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told reporters on Saturday that his priority is to make Greece the safest destination in Europe.

"You can come to Greece, you will have a fantastic experience, you can sit on a veranda with this wonderful view, have your nice Assyrtiko wine, enjoy the beach," Mitsotakis said, with a stunning sunset in the background.

"But we don't want you crowded in a beach bar... There are a few things that we won't allow this summer."

TAGS
Greece  |  coronavirus  |  tourism  |  health

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