Government spokesperson Stelios Petsas on Monday thanked the citizens for their response to the measures to contain the spread of coronavirus, noting that the vast majority were following the government's instructions, as well as the many volunteers, while pointing out that "there can be no complacency" or easing of the measures at this time.
"Without strict measures we would now be experiencing tragic moments," he said, and added that "with the measures we have taken, we have stopped the virus. Let's hold on to our gains. If we ease up, we will pay for it."
Petsas stressed that "the government is stepping up its action along the axes set out from the beginning: stopping the spread of the virus, strengthening the health system and supporting the economy and improving the daily lives of citizens."
He also said that "the government's operational plan at this stage focuses on critical social groups who need to be protected against the increased risk of the spread of coronavirus, such as the homeless or those with addictions."
Regarding the health system, the government spokesperson noted that the work to reinforce it was continuing intensively, through the recruitment of medical and nursing staff, additional intensive care unit staff and the provision of significant medical supplies. He said that the ICUs had been increased from 565 two and a half months ago, to 910 at present. At the same time, the hiring of 4,824 doctors, nurses and other health personnel had been approved, while 2,312 of them have already been hired.
On actions taken to support the economy, he noted that "tomorrow's Eurogroup is particularly important. Greece's positions are known, as they have been stated by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in a joint letter with other leaders to the President of the European Council. We expect a common policy in order to finance the necessary actions for all the member-states of the European Union, with low interest rates and non-binding terms."
At the same time, he noted that "however, we welcome the fact that initiatives have already been taken at a European level."
Petsas also said: "It is of particular importance that, following a letter from Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to the relevant Commissioners, the European Commission has accepted the request for increased flexibility in the use of EU resources. This means that during the current year, we have the opportunity to use EU resources to channel liquidity into the market, to support the unemployed, to strengthen the primary sector: We can finance projects exclusively from EU resources, transfer resources between regions and proceed with the unfettered use of unallocated resources of previous years."
He added: "By the summer, Greece will develop a fiscal net of about 14 billion euros to protect the economy and set in motion a leveraging of liquidity of around 10 billion euros, so that the health crisis has the least possible impact on the real economy. [This is] a total package of 24 billion euros, in other words about 13 pct of the GDP in 2019."