In a televised address to the nation on Tuesday on the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis echoed French President Emmanuel Macron, declaring that "we are at war."
"The enemy is invisible but not invincible," he said. "If we curb the spread of the virus, we give time to the health system to address urgent cases," he added, noting that, "our first priority is to save lives."
The capital's NIMTS hospital will be turned into a center for the treatment of coronavirus patients, he said, adding that, with the help of private clinics, 1,900 additional hospital beds will be availble for patients afflicted with the virus.
"Our first concern are people and public health," he said. "That is way we imposed, earlier than other European countries, unprecedented measures for peacetime." He said the state has three key goals: curbing the spread of the virus, boosting the health system and supporting the economy and workers.
The government will provide 2.5 bln euros to tackle the problems to the economy and labor market caused by the repercussions of the virus, the premier said. He appealed to employers not to dismiss workers as the government is planning measures that will boost liquidity and will allow them to endure the crisis.
"What was once cocooning is now necessary," Mitsotakis said, underlining the need for people to stay at home to avert the spread of the virus, particurly to vulnerable social groups. "Our primary concern is to protect the elderly."
The premier also called for calm, noting that the government had moved quickly to take all necessary measures. "Panic is as dangerous as the virus itself," he said.