Health Minister Thanos Plevris: There is no chance of a lockdown

Police officer checks a driver in Athens, on March 23, 2020. Greece is on the first day of a strict nationwide lockdown seeking to halt the spread of the COVID-19 infection caused by novel coronavirus, with excursions from the home limited to attending work, buying food, visiting the doctor, walking the dog or going for a solitary jog. / Αστυνομικός ελέγχει εναν οδηγό κατα την διάρκεια της πρώτης ημέρας επιβολής απαγόρευσης κυκλοφορίας, με εξαίρεση την έξοδο για και απο το χώρο εργασίας, αγορές τροφίμων, επίσκεψη σε γιατρό και φαρμακείο ή βόλτα κατοικίδιου και προσωπική άσκηση, Αθήνα, 23 Μαρτίου 2020.

Rumours of a lockdown circulating on the internet, whether local or general, or about changes to working hours or a shut down of schools, have nothing to do with the government’s intentions, Health Minister Thanos Plevris clarified on Tuesday, speaking to SKAI TV.

“At this time the philosophy of the measures has only to do with the protection of the unvaccinated. If more measures are necessary, these will be along the lines of the measures already announced and will concern restricted access to various locations or the possibility that access will be given with tracking and testing for the unvaccinated,” he said.

“Schools will remain open and infections in schools are currently much lower than forecast,” Plevris added.

Regarding the state’s request to private doctors to assist in the treatment of patients with Covid-19, Plevris said that the medical associations are being informed so that, if there is no response to the invitation, the government will be able to proceed with the requisitioning of doctors’ services.

“We hope that it won’t be needed and the doctors will come forward voluntarily,” he said, adding that “because our national health system is pressed and specific specialists are missing, if there is not an immediate response to the request, by which I mean within the current week, and the positions or some of them are not filled, we will resort to requisitioning. Take note, I am referring to areas which are under pressure, not generally. I believe that with the cooperation of the medical associations and the planning of the regional health units, we will resolve the problem.”