Professor Sotiris Tsiodras, known to the wider Greek public as the Health Ministry's spokesman for the novel coronavirus, was the first speaker in a series initiated by Alternate Foreign Affairs Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis as chairman of the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers.
Varvitsiotis introduced the infectious diseases professor of the University of Athens Medical School, speaking of his "humane approach in a very difficult mission" of addressing the public and press questions nearly daily for 72 days running.
"During recent months, for us Greeks Sotiris Tsiodras has become a model of how we must approach difficult issues in a humane way, respecting human life and dignity," the minister said, adding that the theme during Greece's chairmanship would focus on the repercussions of the pandemic on a state of law, democracy and human rights.
In an online chat coordinated by journalist Costas Papachlimintzos, Tsiodras outlined the preparations by Greece of the pandemic in early February, when drills were introduced to hospitals to prepare them for triage and the admission of patients needing intensive care.
He also spoke of the collaboration of all officials and medical and nursing staff in Greece and of the solidarity shown among countries in helping each other acquire necessary health materials.
The epidemic's greatest message, Tsiodras said, is solidarity, and he advised the public to avoid fear, panic and the stigma of infection. "All of us will fight this and manage it," he said.