Monday , April 22 2024
Home / News / CORONAVIRUS / Tsiodras visits Roma settlement in quarantine, gives anti-racism lesson

Tsiodras visits Roma settlement in quarantine, gives anti-racism lesson

Greece’s top epidemiologist and Professor for Infectious Diseases Sotiris Tsiodras and the head of Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias visited the Roma settlement under quarantine after at least 20 residents were tested positive n coronavirus.

They both did not use any protection means like masks and gloves and mingled with the crowd in an effort to inform them about the virus, the risks and the social distancing.

They explained the purpose of the quarantine and appealed to “everyone to comply with the measures for the next 14 days in order to protect our grandmothers and grandparents, those who have health issues.”

They urged the people to be patient.

“Stay home and o nothing else,” Hardalias told the crowd.

The speeches were received with mixed feelings. Some among the crowd applauded and some said “We are Vlach-Roma”, “We don’t have the virus, we don’t get the virus.”

It was a move of high symbolic and had several recipients. Not only the settlement residents but also the locals in Larissa, central Greece, as well as many media and social media users who lashed out against Roma with racist comments.

Mainstream media sent reported to Roma settlements in Athens and else were and pretended to see for the first time the living conditions of the Roma communities.

When Tsiodras later said during the daily briefing that the number of new confirmed cases was “56”, some news presenters said “56 new cases, that is 36 as 20 are the cases the Romas” in the settlement.

“The Roma are not a threat,” Tsiodras said in his capacity as spokesman of the National Health Organization during the  briefing on Friday afternoon.

“The Roma community in EU countries should not be used as scapegoat in the current pandemic; the Greek Roma community will continue to enjoy the same healthcare as everyone else,” he said.

Tsiodras pointed out that “these people belong to the most vulnerable groups during the current pandemic as they live in degraded homes.

“In many places they still do not have access to clean water,” he said, adding that it was becoming “difficult for Roma communities to implement social distancing measures in overcrowded homes.”

He stressed that “there is no room for fear, hatred and division in our society. We are with them and they are with us.”

Of course,  Tsiodras approach does not relieve the state from the huge responsibilities as it did nothing for this “vulnerable group of the society,” in the one and a half months since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in Greece. Neither in terms of information nor in terms of precaution measures nor in term of improving living conditions.

It is worth noting that almost in one voice, TV stations reporters are “shocked” to see that “Roma do not wear gloves and masks.” Even if Tsiodras said a day earlier that wearing gloves and masks is not advisable for the general population.

As if Roma were not Greek citizens…

Check Also

Greece weekly report: 73 died of COVID-19, 8 of flu

Covid-related deaths and hospital admissions eased in the past week after a dramatic spike over …