Acrimonious debate in Greek parliament over handling of Covid-19 pandemic

Opposition parties accuse the government of failing to do enough

The heated debate in Greek parliament over the government’s management of the Covid-19 pandemic crisis continued on Thursday, as opposition parties levelled harsh criticisms against PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis regarding the effectiveness of the measures to curb the virus spread.

The Prime Minister stressed that the country is going through the most critical phase and all political forces need to display responsibility and seriousness, in order to protect society at least until next January, when it is estimated that the new promising vaccine will be released.

The PM said his government was doing “everything humanly possible” to protect public health and reinforce the national health system. He stressed that no one can accuse the government of not “fighting”.

Pointing indirectly to major opposition party SYRIZA, he noted that leader Alexis Tsipras had no right to raise the issue of a “PR  management” of the crisis, since, during the great Mati tragedy crisis in his tenure, he managed it exclusively with communication trickery.

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On his part, the leader of SYRIZA, Alexis Tsipras pointed to the government’s and the PM’s personal responsibilities. “This country has 11 million individual responsibilities. Only one does not have individual responsibility, Mr. Mitsotakis” he stated characteristically.

“You are the prime minister of a country that is counting more than 40 dead every day. You say that you had no responsibility for the opening of tourism. Did you not tell us here that we had defeated the coronavirus? Didn’t you do a fiesta in Santorini and invite tourists? You proclaimed yourself the Messiah. Didn’t you say that it was fortunate you were in charge because if it was Tsipras we would have thousands of dead?” he stated.

Tsipras said the PM should respond if he thought the responsibility lay on the shoulders of the young people. “Zero liability for public transport. No responsibility for increasing the number of students in the classrooms. Is the virus only spread to young people? Was there no issue in the workplace? Are only young people partying?”, he wondered.

“The young people are unemployed and trying to find a job. Are you aware of the country you are governing?” he said.

At the same time, he called for the convening of a council of political leaders to agree on an emergency six-month plan to strengthen the National Health System and deal with the pandemic.