Officials from The Guardian have praised Greece for its great handling of the coronavirus crisis, particularly with a recovering health system. According to the British newspaper, Greece, despite ten years of economic crisis, has managed to keep the number of cases low compared to other European countries.
“The country’s ability to meet public health emergencies was not a given,” the report said, adding that “after almost a decade of economic crisis, Greece’s health system is far from recovering.”
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“State hospitals have lifted the weight of the cuts required in exchange for help from lenders. With the arrival of the pandemic in Europe, authorities knew, 18 months after the exit from the memoranda, that they had only 560 units of intensive care,” The Guardian writes.
In a statement to the British newspaper, Dr. Andreas Mentis, head of the Pasteur Institute, said: “There were weaknesses that worried us. Before diagnosing the first case, we started looking at people and isolating them. The incoming flights, especially from China, they were being monitored. Later, when they started repatriating from Spain, for example, we immediately put them in quarantine in hotels.”
While the strict measures weren’t immediately accepted, the Guardian adds, health authorities made the decision to close impose strict public measures from early on. This included shutting beaches and ski resorts, banning public gatherings of more than 10 people, banning travel to the islands, and closing the churches.
Alexis Patelis, the prime minister’s economic adviser, says “it was very clear that we needed experts we needed to listen to. However, the Greeks have gone through a crisis, they know what it is. And that has allowed them to adapt.”