The World Health Organization (WHO) has praised the municipality of Athens and other organizations active in the city, for their response to the coronavirus pandemic and for taking initiatives to protect the vulnerable.
In the article 'Athens protects vulnerable communities during COVID-19', the Greek capital was described as a model city for the protection of the vulnerable groups of citizens.
“Athens is one of the oldest recorded cities in the world – with the great Parthenon overlooking the city as a reminder of perseverance and endurance. With age often comes wisdom. As COVID-19 swept across Europe, Greece started implementing nationwide measures to contain the virus, including cancellation of major public gatherings and lock-down measures” WHO published.
It also includes a statement by Athens mayor Kostas Bakoyannis, who stressed that “These very harsh times have taught us that the best outcome always comes with collaboration and consistent efforts. When city and civil society join efforts, the result is more than fruitful, as together we can open an ever-safer umbrella towards marginalized populations. In this battle against time, no one is to be left behind."
“WHO supports Greece with advocacy and evidence-based policy guidance for COVID-19 and beyond. The ‘whole-of-society’ approach leaves no one behind and amplifies the best of social norms while creating a new positive normal that minimizes stigma and discrimination,” emphasised Marianna Trias, WHO representative for Greece.
The WHO also praised the work being done by the Prometheus Hellenic Liver Patients Association, the Positive Voice Greek Association of People Living with HIV and the Versatile Center for Homeless People- which provides accommodation as well as health and social care services, and also its outreach program distributing food, water, gloves, masks, antiseptic liquid, and information about covid-19 to the city’s homeless, intravenous drug users, sex workers and migrants.
"In recognising and addressing the needs of marginalized groups during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, the city of Athens is promoting health equity and building a more just city," the report concluded.