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Greece’s gov’t spokesman hinds at “lockdown relaxation” in May

In an effort to sweeten the bitter pill of movement restrictions to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the Greek government opens tiny windows of hope as to when the lockdown could be lifted, at least partially. The messages of hope can two days after the extension of the lockdown until April 27.

“The more strictly we implement the measures, the sooner the day will come when we will gradually return to normality,” Interior Minister Takis Theodorikakos said on Monday.

In the same wavelength, government spokesman Stelios Petsas emphasized that “if we stay at home in April, we will enjoy the results in May.”

Both, the spokesman and the minister, stressed the importance of restrictions, saying that the measures have played a crucial role in limiting the spread of the virus.

“Without strict measures we would be experiencing dramatic moments” Petsas said warning, however, that “if we relax, we will pay for it.”

Greek epidemiologists consider April as a “crucial month” for the course of the epidemic in Greece. Since the first confirmed case on February 26, the development of coronavirus has been relatively slow with a moderate number of deaths and patients in hospitals ICUs, when compared to other European countries. By Monday afternoon, April 6, death toll stands at 79 and patients in ICUs at 90.

Greece is one of the countries that imposed early restriction measures. It closed schools on March 6, non essential stores and businesses a week later and imposed a general lockdown on March 23. Over the weekend, the lockdown was extended to April 27.

With a package of several billion euros, the government tries to support the millions affected financially form the impact of the coronavirus.

While the majority of Greeks comply with the movement restrictions, a major test will be the Greek Orthodox Easter on April 19, where people traditionally visit the countryside to celebrate. The government has warned to further limit the movement in order to prohibit contamination of large parts of the population.

“We hope that with the restrictive measures we will be able to normalize the economy in April and May,” Minister Theodorikakos said, however, without elaborating.

He just added that people must be prepared for the fact that the economy of Greece and Europe, as a whole, will be hit hard. “The longer the quarantine lasts, the greater the recession,” he said.

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