Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis all but ruled out a lockdown due to the spread of the coronavirus on Saturday saying that such a draconian measure would have a devastating economic impact.
Speaking at the Athens Democracy Forum 2020, the Greek premier revealed that there was a unanimity among EU member states that a lockdown would be counter-productive.
“I think there is a general agreement among European countries that it is very difficult, almost inconceivable, to go to a second full lockdown – and we are much smarter now, so we can do localized lockdowns, we use contact tracing in a much smarter way, we do much more testing,” he said.
He acknowledged however that this approach has dangers: “Can we manage to live with the virus while maintaining economic normality without a full lockdown and without putting too much strain on our health system? I think no one has the answer yet because we still have three or four very difficult months.”
Greece’s response to the first wave of the coronavirus and the possibility of a second general lockdown were among the issues touched on in a discussion on “Politics, Power and the Pandemic” between Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and historian and author Yuval Noah Harari on Saturday, during, with journalist Liz Alderman, chief business correspondent of the “New York Times”, as moderator.
“As far as the Greek ‘experiment’ is concerned, we would not have been successful in fighting the first wave of the pandemic had we not be able to engage citizens proactively and build a relationship of trust between government – and by government I mean the state and not necessarily the elected government – and citizens.
“It was not easy because we came out of 10 years of crisis when all of our institutions were challenged but we did manage to create a sense of collective destiny, which, however, also assumed changes in individual behavior – something that you know is always quite tricky to deliver and it can never be totally imposed,” the prime minister said