During an interview on CNN, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis spoke about how Greece curbed the spread of the virus and the country’s plan for reopening to tourism.
“In the last month, every person who arrived in Greece by air has been tested,” he said.
“We have created a fairly good database with data on people who came to Greece and were positive for the virus. Indicatively, I mention that in the last four days we tested about 4,000 people who arrived at Athens airport and we only had two positive cases, which even concerned people who were asymptomatic. So, if that percentage is maintained, I think we can gradually start opening up the country to foreign visitors,” he added.
We have invested in our regional healthcare system, we have testing capacity on most islands and the basic social distancing rules continue to apply. We want our visitors to feel safe and enjoy their experience of the Greek summer. Interview with @FareedZakaria on CNN. pic.twitter.com/hd4n0CZMTr
— Prime Minister GR (@PrimeministerGR) June 14, 2020
When asked where he ‘attributes the success of Greece, Mitsotakis responded that the country acted quickly, strengthened the health system and clearly communicated its choices to the citizens, who then won the battle with the coronavirus pandemic, as they followed recommendations of experts. “I want to express my deep gratitude to the people, because our success is mainly due to them,” he said, adding that the fight still continues as the virus had not disappeared.
“When the summer tourist season comes full circle,” said Mitsotakis, “we will be able to say that we did not just manage the first wave of the pandemic in an exemplary way, but that we also set the bar very high on how we can reopen tourism safely – above all else,” he exclaimed.
When asked if opening the country to visitors might jeopardise the government’s efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic, Mitsotakis said that “there is no risk-free approach…we are doing the best we can” and emphasised that the economy will operate under “very robust guidelines” enforcing social distancing and other measures, such as mandatory wearing of masks in transport as well as by all catering personnel.
“I believe the worst (of the pandemic) is over and I don’t think a full lockdown will be necessary…in case of a localised outbreak, we have the medical and civil protection infrastructure in place to tackle it safely and efficiently,” Mitsotakis said.