Addressing the nation anew on Thursday, President Nicos Anastasiades said that this weekend, which marks the Greek Orthodox Easter, will test the island’s population but stressed the need for absolute compliance with restriction measures so that it can remain feasible to begin a gradual lifting of the measures as soon as possible.
The President’s address in full:
These days, my thoughts turn to those who have been infected with the virus, to those who are going through the ordeal and the agony of survival, to those who have lost loved ones.
I wish everyone strength and courage.
My thoughts are also with those who are anxious about the uncertainty of tomorrow, be they employees or employers.
At the same time, my thoughts focus on those who are rightly called front-line heroes - health professionals, police officers, firefighters, soldiers, Civil Defense members, gamekeepers, volunteers, employees of various vital public or private services – who respond to human needs on a daily basis and keep hope alive.
In the same way, I honor all of you who are being tried as a result of unwanted but imposed restrictions.
"Strictly follow the protective measures, avoid unnecessary travel, do not succumb to the temptation to visit your villages"
Restrictions that deprive us of freedom of movement and choice, contact with our loved ones, the right to express, especially these days, our respect and faith, to live and rejoice as we are used to during Easter.
It is for all these feelings of gratitude that I have for all of you, that I would like to say a big thank you, because it is thanks to your professionalism, sacrifice, patience and patriotism, that I am sure we will succeed.
Hopes have been rising in recent days, but they do not signal the end. Unfortunately, there is still a long way to go.
At yesterday's meeting of the Council of Ministers, and always taking into account the advice of the Scientific Team, we decided on the strategy for a gradual easing of measures.
I want to be precise and clear. What we have decided is the strategy and not the date of implementation of the decision.
The implementation will depend, and is completely interlinked, with the course of reducing the number of cases, ie. the progress, the continuation of the strict observance of the restriction measures, the mutual respect and the solidarity that the overwhelming majority exemplifies.
No mistakes are allowed, no complacency is allowed.
What seems to be under control today can easily, if we ignore the risks, become uncontrollable the following day.
That is why my speech today, in addition to the message of hope, respect and love, wants to convey the need not to allow emotions to prevail over reason.
I know that it is painful to ask Christians to suspend their religious rites, to ask fellow citizens to abstain from worship or other events associated with the Resurrection of God, or even to ask them to lose out on experiencing the joys of spring.
But this year, it is beyond necessary to patiently pass the tests we have before us, to go through, if you will, our own Golgotha. Don’t forget that Golgotha is always followed by the Resurrection.
That is why I appeal to everyone once again:
Strictly follow the protective measures, avoid unnecessary travel, do not succumb to the temptation to visit your villages or country homes.
Do not listen to the dissidents who link faith in God with the choice of death.
Listen to the prudent voice of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Archbishop of Cyprus, who say that “Today, faith is not in danger, but the faithful are."
Thanks to your own sacrifices and our determination to take timely tough measures, improvements are being made every day, and the hope for full control is becoming even more apparent.
I want to assure you that with the help of the scientific team we have planned every step, every measure to deal with the pandemic.
With the same prudence, we are also planning in cooperation with the political forces and the social partners, to deal with the consequences of the unprecedented crisis that has befallen mankind.
I ask you to trust me once again. With your cooperation and the assistance of the political forces of the island, which I would like to warmly thank again, I assure you that we will succeed.
I wish I was able at this time to shake the hand of each and every one of you, to express my thanks and gratitude.
I wish you all a Happy Easter, strength and courage."