NEWS

Greek PM wants to expedite lifting of measures

greek-pm-wants-to-expedite-lifting-of-measures

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has sent out a clear message that the plan to gradually lift restrictions to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic should unfold just as swiftly as they were imposed.

Apart from April 27, when courts and registries will open, the most likely starting date for the opening of small commercial shops such as hairdressers is May 4.

One question that remains open is the intervals between the easing of these restrictions.

Despite the fact that the World Health Organization (WHO) has proposed the lifting of measures every two weeks, the government is mulling the reduction of this interval to one week as it is eager to kick-start the Greek economy.

In any case, the situation is not linear and as the government’s senior adviser on the coronavirus, Sotiris Tsiodras, has said, sometimes you need to step on the gas and other times on the brakes.

Tellingly, despite the move toward the easing of the measures, government spokesman Stelios Petsas has not ruled out the possibility that extra restrictions might be imposed during the May Day holiday, as was the case at Easter.

The government has also indicated that the lifting of restrictions does not mean that people will not be required to continue sending out text messages to the 13033 number.

What is being discussed, rather, is not scrapping the SMS, but the evolution and modification of the system to adapt to the easing of restrictions. For example, once small shops are opened, there should be an option – in addition to the current ones allowing people to go to the doctor’s, supermarket etc – when sending out a text in order to go to these reopened stores.

Also on Wednesday, Tsiodras announced seven new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total to 2,408, adding that there were no new deaths, with the death toll remaining at 121.

Meanwhile, European Union leaders will hold a video-conference on Thursday seeking a final solution over how to help the bloc’s economies recover from the Covid-19 crisis but divisions still remain over the details of a recovery fund. 

Although the issuance of a Eurobond has been taken off the table, and while all member-states agree on the key areas regarding the fund – namely, among others, that it will be managed by the Commission and that funds will be raised with state guarantees – there still remain many important details that need to be agreed, such as the total funds available.

Thus, an agreement in principle on the fund is possible in Thursday's teleconference but the final agreement is expected by the end of June.