Tsipras: ‘The government’s criminal negligence led to the local coronavirus outbreak in West Attica’

SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance party leader Alexis Tsipras accused the government of “criminal negligence and managerial incompetence” for the outbreak of coronavirus cases in the West Attica region, where he visited on Saturday.

Tsipras met with Elefsina Mayor Argyris Ekonomou and also with West Attica Region’s Vice-Governor Lefteris Kosmopoulos, to whom he said that the pandemic’s local spike is not the result of people not observing the safety measures or being disobedient to restrictive protocols, but rather the result of a lack of sufficient protective measures for workers at these industrial areas; he called the harshness of the latest lockdown rules in the three municipalities of west Attica “unprecedented.”

The Civil Protection Secretariat on Friday imposed a tougher version of the current lockdown in three West Attica municipalities -Aspropyrgos, Elefsina and Mandra- shutting down the entire retail sector without ‘click-away’ exceptions and adding three hours to the evening curfew.

“The government is passing on the responsibility for the local spike in new infections to the local people,” said Tsipras.

Protection measures in large working spaces at industrial areas like Aspropyrgos and Elefsina, and also at northern Greece’s Pella and Pieria, are totally insufficient to virtually non-existent, he pointed out. Moreover, there is no Labor Inspectorate in these areas, “it has been nulled”, while some workers claim, he added, “that factory managers are blackmailing them into keeping up with shifts despite mass infections in their premises.”

“It is then obvious,” concluded Tsipras, that “when a worker is fully aware that upon contracting the virus, he will have to stay at home for 14 days, followed by a month of unpaid overtime to make up for his self-isolation, it is highly likely that he is pushed, by current labor laws and bosses, to keep his infection to himself.”