Amid concerns about a significant increase in coronavirus infections over the past month, the pandemic is to be the focus of a scheduled debate in Parliament Monday.
The discussion, which was initially proposed by the leader of the center-left Movement for Change (KINAL), Fofi Gennimata, is expected to result in a vehement debate, culminating in a clash between party leaders about the government’s management of the health crisis.
The government is expected to defend its decision to relax restrictions and then open the country’s borders to tourism in the summer in a bid to bolster the economy to the greatest extent possible. In any case, imported infections are still low, about 10% of the total. Infectious disease experts say the latest spike has chiefly been fueled by increased complacency on the part of many citizens and businesses.
Inspections by authorities have been stepped up, with more than 50,000 checks conducted nationwide daily resulting in dozens of fines against offenders who fail to wear face masks in enclosed public areas or run their businesses in line with the restrictions introduced by the government to curb the virus.
According to human geneticist Emmanouil Dermitzakis from the University of Geneva, the situation in Greece is “stable but critical.” He told Kathimerini that the number of daily cases has stabilized at around 200 following a sharp increase in early August “which had worried us.” The key challenge, he said, is to break the chain of infection between young people and older citizens who are at greater risk.
Another challenge will be the reopening of schools on September 14, when all pupils and teachers will be obliged to wear face masks. Although loath to close schools in the event of an outbreak, the government has said additional restrictions will be imposed if necessary.