A fast scan of the WorldOMeters chart requires scrolling approach down the web page to search out Greece. With simply 2,853 circumstances and 168 deaths, the size of the outbreak in Greece is nearly two orders of magnitude away from the 228,000 circumstances in Italy to the west or the 153,000 in Turkey to the east. There are another small nations in Europe with even fewer circumstances (Albania has fewer than 1,000), however Greece is a hotspot for tourism, a frequent cease for cruise ships, and has a nationwide healthcare system that has been wounded by huge cuts required as a part of that austerity program (although with common protection and higher than 4 hospital beds per 1,000 folks, it nonetheless beats the stuffing out of the USA).
How did a nation as depending on tourism as Greece keep away from going the way in which of France and Italy? The brief reply is: science.
The marginally longer reply entails a scientist. Particularly, Dr. Sotiris Tsiodras. Early on, in the course of the outbreak in China, Tsiodras introduced his issues about the potential of a pandemic to Greek leaders. By means of reply, the federal government instantly shaped a coronavirus process power and put the Athens-based pathologist in control of managing the nation’s response. A clue to how that labored out may be present in this article from Le Figaro:
It’s 6 pm, a useless zone for all tv … That is the time when the Greeks cease all actions or phone conversations, to religiously comply with the jiffy of press briefing. … On the display stands a person, apparently discreet, innocuous, sporting a badge on his stylish grey go well with with the inscription “Keep at dwelling”. Salt and pepper hair, spherical glasses and a smooth voice. It’s Professor Sotirios Tsiodras, director of the Infectious Ailments Committee.
Tsiodras has develop into generally known as the “new beloved of Greeks,” who’ve united round not simply listening to his day by day broadcasts, however following his recommendation.
Not solely did the nation unite behind Tsiodras, however the nation’s leaders united—throughout areas and events—behind the concept the nation needed to communicate with one voice when it got here to setting pandemic insurance policies. In contrast to the USA, the place Trump abdicated all accountability besides sniping from the sidelines, and in contrast to different European nations the place guidelines different by locality and enforcement was piecemeal, Greece went all in. It didn’t simply lockdown—it set nationwide insurance policies for individuals who violated social distancing guidelines.
People caught on the road for nonessential functions after March 23 have been topic to speedy fines of 150 Euros. Repeat offenders have been socked with escalating quantities. By Might 1, the federal government had collected over €4M in fines and Greeks had discovered to remain dwelling or face the results.
Lastly, the nation discovered from others, like South Korea, that practiced isolation and case tracing to cut back neighborhood unfold. Of the unique 2,800 circumstances in Greece, about 1,300 stay beneath shut supervision. Total, the speed of testing in Greece has been fairly small—144,000 assessments—placing its fee of testing far beneath many different nations. However the comparatively small variety of circumstances and cautious followup has meant that the assessments have been pretty efficient in describing the scale of the outbreak, because the 168 deaths point out.
However now Greece is getting ready for a problem that will check its means to regulate what occurs subsequent. Delicate to lengthy financial hardships and depending on tourism for revenue, Greece plans to reopen to worldwide journey. Flights from some nations will likely be allowed beginning in mid-June, and out of doors archaeological websites across the nation reopened on Might 11. Social distancing guidelines are nonetheless in impact, however over the following month most companies in Greece will slowly swing again to one thing near “regular.”
Hopefully the federal government, and the Greek inhabitants, will proceed to hear in to Dr. Tsiodras, and proceed to watch the state of affairs carefully. It’s simple to know why a nation as cash-strapped as Greece would wish to “open the seashores” even once they know a Nice White remains to be circling simply offshore. However it could be a disgrace if this excellent news story turned a cautionary story.