Compared to the rest of Europe, Greece for the moment seems to have managed to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Because of the cuts to health care imposed by the austerity measures, any other result would have been catastrophic. According to a report from the Guardian dated 2018, hospitals lack staff, materials and equipment. ICU places numbered only 560 last month, although the government has now increased them to 910 and has hired over 4 000 extra doctors and nurses. Also, a quarter of the Greek population is more than 60 years old.
As reported by Nova last week, Greece reported 1 884 cases and 83 deaths since the outbreak began. The Ministry of Health spokesman, Sotiris Tsiodras said that 57 percent is made up of men, while 87 patients were admitted to intensive care, of which 77 percent have at least one previous disease while the average age is 67. Tsiodras said that Greek health authorities have tested 32 528 people nationwide.
The first case of Covid-19 in Greece dates back to February 27, shortly after it was detected Codogno, Italy. But unlike Italy, Greece acted immediately by imposing measures which that at first seemed excessive. The government closed schools and cancelled demonstrations.
Al Jazeera noted that, when Greece canceled the carnival celebrations in late February, many people found the measure out of place. The Greeks, observes the Qatariot newspaper, quickly put aside their revolutionary spirit, and largely listened to the government’s advice to remain in isolation.
The results are there for all to see: the victims are much lower than in Belgium (2 035) or the Netherlands (1 867), which have similar populations, but a much higher gross domestic product (GDP).
“Our schools closed before there was the first death. Most countries closed one or two weeks after they mourned the loss of dozens of people,” said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in a parliamentary session.