Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the government is not pleased with the slow drop in coronavirus infections and the high number of intubations, and called for a strict adherence to the health rules this holiday season and keep gatherings to a minimum.
“Christmas with our family, at most with one more, a maximum of nine people. These are the rules we must follow to protect ourselves and the people we love,” he said during a television interview with Alpha channel on Monday afternoon.
Explaining the reasons for this slow decrease in infections, he said that, on the one hand, the second lockdown was not as strict as the first, while there is also public fatigue with the restrictions.
The reopening of any economic activity hinges on how soon will pressure on the public health system ease, he said. The final decisions will be taken at the end of this week. “We might be able to save something from the Christmas season,” he said.
Mitsotakis also addressed the backlash he received after pictures of him and his wife were published in the Greek press and circulated on social media, showing them mountain-biking on Mount Parnitha, a wooded area far from his residence, on November 29.
In the pictures Mitsotakis posed maskless for photos with several passers-by, who also did not have face coverings and did not keep their distances.
“It was a mistake that I accepted to be photographed without a mask. It is not a mistake that I went cycling. Because I want to stress that exercising is allowed within your region. But, with hindsight, obviously I would have worn a mask when my fellow-citizens asked to be photographed with me,” he said.
“I set the bar higher for myself. I have done my own self-criticism…for this incident.”