Tsipras: Greece faces a Black Christmas' unless Mitsotakis takes immediate action

Alexis Tsipras

Main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance President Alexis Tsipras, arriving in the city of Volos on Friday amid a heavy storm and with an hour's delay, called on Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakos to take urgent action to get the pandemic under control.

"I did not come to Volos with an intention of mounting an opposition, because these are difficult times that we must face together, and I call on Mr. Mitsotakis to take immediate measures," Tsipras said as he arrived at the Achillopouleio Hospital in the city.

He also noted that scientists were making dire predictions and the government had to assume its responsibilities.

"If it does not and insists on being slapdash and inadequacy, we will be faced with hundreds of dead and have a black Christmas and this will be the exclusive responsibility of the government of Prime Minister Mitsotakis," he said.

Talking to staff and others during a meeting to discuss the problems facing the hospital, Tsipras supported their call for more hiring in the public healthcare sector to meet the additional pressures.

Tsipras criticised the government for "inadequacy" and "lack of courage" in its handling of the pandemic.

He also called for prompt measures of epidemiological monitoring, to track cases, boost vaccinations and to support the national health system in both primary and secondary healthcare.

"He is leading us for yet another year, even though this year we have a vaccine, to hundreds of deaths and quite possibly a lockdown that is disastrous for the economy and he for which will be fully responsible," the main opposition leader said.

He urged the government to make sure that the national health system gets additional ICUs and staff by requisitioning the services of private hospitals and to "stop the nonsense of 50+1 in schools in order to temporarily shut down a class".

"School pupils make up 25 pct of cases. The coronavirus hatches in schools and is passed on to the elderly," he pointed out.

The opposition leader also called for a tougher approach in certain sectors and professions, including for the police force and testing for admission to churches.

Tsipras also repeated a call for vaccinations to go "door-to-door" with the assistance of local government, the Help At Home programme and volunteers in order to brief people that are over 60 years old.

READ MORE: The Inherently Political Task of Assigning Appropriate Greek Letters to COVID-19 Variants.