Large gatherings at public squares by young people cutting loose as lockdown measures are eased can undermine Greece’s successful efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus, Deputy Minister for Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias said on Thursday.
“We don’t want to take any steps back,” the country’s lead crisis management official said at the regular 6 p.m. government briefing on the course of the pandemic, referring to a recent spate of gatherings in Athens and other parts of the country.
Such gatherings, Hardalias said, “risk wrecking all of the progress we have made so far.” They are “not an act of resistance or cool,” he added.
“The coronavirus is extremely contagious. Just yesterday we saw how one person can infect another 10,” Hardalias said, referring to the recent case of a military hospital in Athens. “The fact that we have not experienced the scenes of other countries with scores of victims is down to the fact that we acted in a coordinated manner,” he added.
Hardalias stressed that the police should not be made responsible for preventing large numbers of citizens from gathering at public squares for impromptu parties – fueled by alcohol from kiosks and takeaway cafe-bars – saying that the responsibility for protecting friends and families lies with every individual who engages in such activities.