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No lockdown lifting on December 1, says Greece’s gov’t spokesman

While the government was psychological preparing Greeks of the gradual lifting of the lockdown on December 1, on Friday the government spokesman contradicted himself announcing exactly the opposite.

“December 1 no longer looks like a realistic target,” government spokesman Stelios Petsas told state broadcaster ERT on Friday morning.

“We never spoke of a specific timeline, but of a gradual return in phases to some form of normalcy within December,” he claimed adding that “unfortunately, the first week of the lockdown was somehow relaxed.”

Pointing out to increasing infections, he said “we will see how we will design the gradual easing of measures over the course of next week… though at this stage the battle is about containing the coronavirus.”

As the resurgence of the pandemic has been recorded in the country since October, the government has been pending trying to keep a balance between “public health” and “economic activity.”

It was forced to impose a three-week lockdown across the country on November 7, though, and even shut down also the primary education a week later as daily infections and intubations of Covid-19 patients increased and dozens of patients have been dying on daily basis.

Greeks are tired of the measures, many suffer economically from the freezing of the business activities and the market is concerned about the Christmas season.

Most probably in this sense, Petsas announced just two days ago, the schedule for an upcoming gradual lifting of the lockdown.

“Yesterday [Tue, Nov 17] was the first day that a flattening of the curve was seen and we hope it will continue today and tomorrow. If that happens we expect a rapid drop in cases, because at the beginning of the lockdown we had the weight of the epidemiological burden of the past weeks,” Petsas told Skai TV on Wednesday morning. He added that “after the weekend a vertical drop in cases is expected from the levels we are at today and in this context the government will soon assess the situation in order to develop the plan to lift the restrictions imposed, gradually if necessary.”

The new coronavirus data in the evening on the same day showed that the curve did not flatten at all; on the contrary it rose again and kept rising since then. However, Greeks were convinced that the gradual lockdown would start on Dec 1, as he said among others.

Other scenarios promoted by the government the whole week concern a so-called “accordion” or “rolling” lockdown, according to which the movement and business restrictions will be on and off in 3-week intervals and thus until Easter.

The contradictory government messages are certainly a wrong police as they confuse people, increase uncertainty and lose confidence to the government.

But you think the government would care? It is still convinced it has done everything correctly, blaming only  the citizens for the resurgence.

Top epidemiologists have been saying that the measures such as “mandatory use of masks” and “movement restrictions” should have been imposed earlier.

One of them even said today, Friday, that a lockdown a la China should be imposed, a lockdown during which citizens would be allowed to leave their homes every fourth day.

The government still seems to be wondering about its priorities: Saving Christmas or Saving Lives?

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  1. 1st of December of what year?

    Emergency temporary lockdown is for three weeks until 30th of November. Even that is unconstitutional as many people pointed out.

    Lockdown only applies to greek “citizens”, not tourists. VisitGreece.gr still invites tourists for holiday, no mentions of lockdown whatsoever. Also no covid restrictions mentioned on english version of civilprotections.gr, only floods and storms. And SMS only works for greek numbers, it does not apply to foreigners.

    So on 1st of December 2020, it will be time to resume my job of self employed travel blogger and photographer. Movement for work is permited and my residence changes every few days. I am sure greek goverment will inform me, if anything changes. If covid lockdown is so important, they would at least bother with english translation:-)

    • I have a U.K. phone – there is no problem. I use the firm (in English)
      You could have filled in a form about your movements. .
      Tourists are not coming because of Covid19 everywhere and the need to quarantine either on Greece or in the home country.
      You are being disingenuous.

    • Do we want this pandemic to finish or not. Man up, grow some and isolate till its ready not too !!!

    • Aside from my comment further down, I’ve been thinking about your predicament and it seems to me that there has never been, in modern times, a better time to write about new places and new discovery. Everyone wants to escape the tedium of the lockdown, paint pictures of a bright tomorrow in your blog and the freedom starved masses will rally to your banner. Worth thinking about?

    • I have a Greek and U.K. phone and I get the same messages and I’m in Thessaloniki and have to abide by the sms permission etc like everyone else.
      Stop spreading false news making people angry.
      We need to support the protection measures as the infection rate in Thessaloniki for example is really high and the hospitals are overwhelmed.

  2. People should stop complaining about the government measures for controlling the Covid 19 Pandemic which is killing our loved ones on this planet at a very fast rate and if controls were not or are not imposed on us strictly and we throw caution to the wind as many have and do then the horror is nigh upon us.We shall all have Christmas and Birthday celebrations together again one day,we shall eat out together,drink coffee together BUT NOT NOW.I would hate to be in charge of a country of people where they will scream..too much measures ..or.. you never took enough measures,now look at us..Take extreme measures even without the governments say so because that way we may live to embrace a happy life again,something that perhaps we never realised we had.

    • I concure..!! The world wars lasted years!! we have only been fighting this enemy for a few months !!!

      • I agree. Plus, during the world wars people were asked to give up their lives. Today they’re only being asked to give up their socialising – and only for a few weeks, not for several years. If the people behaved sensibly, socially distancing and wearing masks there would be no need for a lockdown at all.

    • I suppose you would be happy with a military dictatorship. After all, the health of some very elderly or very ill people is far more important than human tights for everyone, democracy, and money to buy food and pay rent or massive DEH bills. It’s not as if politicians ever behaved badly in the past: obviously we can trust them with absolutely anything, including our lives.

      • Francois, but if it was your granny or grandfather? Does not elderly or ill people has the right to live?? Do you really want to kill them, do they stand in your way? Remember, without them you would not have been born!

        • 12 milion greeks and 0.0127% has died of which 97.8% had underlying issues. (and than I don’t substract the normal death rate of these numbers) And that number justifies the closedown of the whole economy? People jobless, no money to pay bills or rent or food? How should people go through the winter? Support of the government ?

    • Well said Michele Lavender! I agree, Support the Government, So little we are asked to sacrifice for the good of all. Let’s just do it! Let’s embrace the opportunity to care for others, think of long-term goal and co-operate. Share and Care! We all have a part to do to reduce the spread of virus, We are in this together. When one hurts, all hurt. Now is the time!

  3. Jonathan, as a fellow photographer and journalist, now retired, I am sure you must have a stock of material that willl allow you to generate new stories with supporting images from your files. Winter is hardly travel-blogging time, anyway! I hope you can identify new opportunities that will allow you to respect the spirit of the lockdown – which is, after all, designed to protect us all (not least, old timers like myself).

    A British paper said that holidaymakers were flying straight into lockdown, rather than being allowed to roam freely. I don’t know the truth of it.

    Michele, I agree. I pity those who have to make the call on lockdowns. Whatever they do will be condemned by a large minority – perhaps a majority – of their fellow citizens. I encourage everyone to do all they can to prevent the spread of this plague.

  4. The first line of defence against the virus is to prevent the transmission of aerosols (breath in other words) via the proper use of proper masks, and social distancing. Very frustrating that we have lockdowns when we haven’t taken these two simple measures seriously. Everywhere I look I see disregard for these measures while the police walk past without any intervention.

  5. As a visitor in Greece you still have to follow all the same lockdown rules as residents do and if you cannot send an SMS you are required to carry a paper form. Please read the info below
    For visitors IN Greece
    Outside movement of tourists staying in Greece until November 30 is allowed only for essential reasons that apply to all residents in the country. Movement outdoors is allowed by sending an SMS to the five-digit mobile phone service 13033.

    The ministry advises tourists to avoid unnecessary movement outside their accommodation (hotel, resort or apartment) except for essential reasons.

    “In this case the hotel should inform them of essential movement reasons and of the documents or sms required,” the ministry says.

    Instructions for essential movement (documents/sms), as well as other rules, can also be found here.

  6. It is interesting to note that bees isolate themselves from the rest of the hive when they get sick and I believe bats do the same.We have a duty to each other because we dont know immediately if we have it and are spreading it unknowingly.In the Spainish Flu of 1918 a few of the American states locked down their borders real fast,no one in and no one out,they had far fewer deaths.We must not be complaisant even with a vaccine is in place because like the usual winter flu Covid 19 has mutated and there are many different strains which may not respond and all that we may have left as a weapon is isolation so that it cannot jump from person to person anymore and it will slowly die away.