PM heralds 10 bln euro lifeline to tackle coronavirus fallout


In the bid to prop up the economy in light of the ever tightening squeeze caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced additional measures on Thursday to the tune of 10 billion euros. 

“The state budget is being revised. So, in addition to the 3.8 billion euros in measures already allocated, about 3 billion more will be allocated to support the economy from the state budget – and at least the same amount through the restructuring of ESPA [National Strategic Reference Framework],” Mitsotakis said in a televised address, adding that this does not include the provision of additional liquidity to businesses from the available financial tools.

Beneficiaries will include self-employed professionals and those who have been fired or forced to resign since March 1. Mitsotakis also said that special Easter bonuses will be given to hospital and civil protection staff. 

The PM said that the additional funds being earmarked from the revised budget will go toward extending a 800-euro benefit until the end of April for workers who lose their jobs due to businesses closing down and to those working for companies that suffer significant financial losses. 

At the same time, the Tourism Ministry announced the closure of the country’s year-round hotels through end-April, in a decision that will be effective as of midnight, March 22. However, the ministry said that three hotels will continue to operate in Athens and in the northern port city of Thessaloniki, while one will stay open in the capital of each of the country’s remaining 11 regional units.

Meanwhile, Health Ministry representative Sotiris Tsiodras announced an additional 46 coronavirus cases, bringing the total number to 464, while confirming that the death toll rose to six after a 70-year-old man died in a hospital in Kastoria, northern Greece. Of those who tested positive for the virus, 78 are in hospital and 16 in critical condition, Tsiodras said, adding that 72 infections are of an unknown source, indicating transmission of the virus within the community. 

In a related development, the first baby of a woman who had tested positive to the coronavirus was born in a hospital in Athens on Wednesday, reports said on Thursday. An initial test on the infant, which was born at the Attikon General Hospital’s maternity clinic, indicated that it is not infected.