Tekst: Emma Mouthaan
With only 2,710 recorded cases and 151 deaths as at 10 May, the coronavirus has not spread widely in Greece compared to other countries. In the past few days there has even been talk of partially lifting the quarantine measures.
Greece is perceived as a success story in Europe because of the small number of recorded cases. Indeed it is positive that not so many people got sick, but people should know that this was a success thanks to the people, not the government.
The government set extremely strict quarantine measures. In some cases, it gave the police the opportunity to hand out fines even to homeless people. Greek people obeyed the quarantine measures and they would have done that even without a total lockdown or fines, because they feel socially responsible for each other. These fines are unnecessary and give the quarantine a less democratic character. At the same time, the Greek healthcare system for which the government is responsible is unstable. There are not enough medical personnel, intensive care beds and equipment such as virus tests. We would not have been able to handle this pandemic if it had got any worse. Instead of investing in the public sector, the Greek government stayed passive.
The situation in Greece seems to be under control for now, but we are afraid of the days that will come. Ever since the economic crisis of 2008, the situation for workers has been quite bad. With a lot of financial problems already and probably a very short tourist season (if we get any tourists at all!), the economic forecast for Greece is ominous. The main question is how the government will support the people who have lost their jobs.
I believe that this is an opportunity to see what the real problem is in our society today: how important it is that we provide good and free care to everybody. Human life is important, and deserves proper healthcare.’