NEWS

Opposition chief seeks meeting of political leaders on health crisis

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The chief of the main opposition SYRIZA party, Alexis Tsipras has called for a meeting of the country’s political leaders to discuss the management of the coronavirus pandemic, while also pushing for Greece to take steps to ensure that Covid-19 vaccines can be produced domestically.

Meeting with Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou in Athens on Friday morning, the former leftist prime minister echoed fears expressed by several experts in recent days of a fresh and precipitous rise in infections following the holidays and requested that she convene a meeting where the leaders of the country’s political parties could discuss management strategies and be briefed by members of the government’s advisory committee on the pandemic.

In comments to the press ahead of his meeting with the president, Tsipras accused Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of “inadequate management” of the health crisis. The government, he said, seems to have “lost control” of the situation.

Tsipras also called on the government to take the initiative at the European Union level for securing the patents to the coronavirus vaccinations so that they may be domestically produced or, in the case that this is not possible, to broker bilateral agreements for a greater supply of the jabs beyond the EU framework.

“Vaccination is moving at a very slow pace and the number of doses secured from the EU are not enough. If we carry on at this rate, it is certain that we will not have the necessary immunity on the community by this time next year,” he said.

Tsipras’ comments come as the government is expected to announce an extension to the current lockdown amid signs that infections are spiking in many parts of the country, and in Athens and the northern port city of Thessaloniki in particular.