Why is Greece an outlier in EU’s Covid-19 reaction?

Sallie Anderson

As the 2008 recession controlled headings from late 2007 onward, a number of countries, consisting of Greece, skilled extreme cuts to public health sector costs.

Throughout the crisis, the IMF reestablished Structural Modification Programs (SAP) and supplied emergency situation financing to numerous countries with less conditionality than previous versions of SAPs.

Though these acknowledge the significance of safeguarding social costs for countries, little action was done to ensure this defense was executed.

Presented throughout the EU as an effort to sustain very little or non-inflationary inflationary growth, SAP’s brought substantial and damaging global health policy ramifications as they required countries to “liberate, deregulate, and privatise” economies and lower participation in particular financial activities tofree the market


IMF countries stay 3.9 times more most likely to make health carecuts than other countries


Given That Greece’s own 2008 austerity procedures were executed, the nation saw a 20 percent contraction on financial output, a 50 percent reduction in the health budget, 40 percent reduction in hospital spending, and closing and furloughs of area and community centers and public health employees.

Extra procedures, specifically the Memorandum, substantially cut pensions, restricting money offered for health care costs amongst senior residents and slashed pension privileges to specialists, consisting of doctors.

The crisis’ resultant brain-drain produces a struggling scenario for public health specialists as a number of reports showed terrible results to the nation’s public healthsystem


Offered this, public health specialists anticipated a stressful account of the Hellenic Covid-19 reaction matching that of Spain and Italy.

Nevertheless, the reaction from Greece is excellent and speaks not to the result of austerity, however rather to the effect and significance of an extensive, agile leadership and reaction strategies.

3 essential Greek successes

First, they discovered management in science through Dr Sotiris Tsiodras, an Athens-based pathologist and illness expert, who rapidly informed leaders to the pandemic and was soon afterwards entrusted with assisting to supervise Covid-19 daily response briefings.

Second, Greece’s reaction showed unity amongst its leaders. The collective effort of Tsiodras together with national leaders Nikos Hardalias, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and Vassilis Kikilias has actually reduced fragmented choices other countries are observing.

3rd, the nation was standardised in its application of effects for lockdown lawbreakers.

The nation acted fast to start cancelling big events, consisting of carnival events on 20 February, after the nation’s third-identified coronavirus case.

Serious and rigorous charges consisting of EUR150 fines were offered to people who did not follow lockdown determines troubled 23 March, culminating in about EUR4.25 m in fines gathered.

In spite of the concern around an effective public health reaction offered exorbitant austerity procedures, Greece has actually had noteworthy success in including spread of the unique coronavirus.

Due to low rates of screening, the little percentage of deaths still shows the effect of severe social distancing.

On 4 May, Greece presented comprehensive resuming efforts to residents.

Hotels and dining establishments are anticipated to resume on 1 June, and the nation is set to resume for travelers on 1 July, supplied the global epidemic shows indications of reducing cases.

In a recent interview, prime minister Mitsotakis stated he is open up to travelers, needs to a European strategy be properly “strict and enforceable”, consisting of screening prior to take a trip and either an antibody or PCR test uponarrival


While other countries have actually sped up the resuming of beaches and other traveler locations to benefit the “local economy”, Greece has actually shown its level of sensitivity to people’ health andsafety


Offered the midpoint of tourist to Greece’s economy in addition to the expense of screening on such a scale, Greece’s strategy is exceptional.

Now for tourist?

History juxtaposed with modernity brought in over 34 million travelers to the Hellenic nation in 2019 alone, with earlier 2020 projections suggesting this would have been another record- breaking year.

Tourist has actually been main to recovery from the nation following the 2008 crisis, with over 20 percent of GDP originating from tourist.

It will stay similarly as important, if not more so, for recovery after Covid-19, however tourist is anticipated to contract significantly, perhaps to 10 percent of GDP.

Greece will need to tactically think about how to keep its effective course and balance restricting danger for a rise in occurrence while staying an appealing location for travelers, specifically offered the possibility of extended social distancing.

This, also, must not be an unique idea for the nation, as Greece had actually currently revealed efforts underway tocap tourists heading to more popular destinations pre-COVID


This year, nevertheless, the efforts will not just issue the regional ecology, however likewise the health of travelers and residents alike.

Greece has an chance here to stay the coronavirus reaction leader of Europe and get ready for the possibility of postponed entry – or a safe entry – to travelers for the advantage of the country’s future.

At the exact same time, Greece will need to be proactive in setting requirements for travelers from throughout the EU along with from the United States and other countries.

They will need to determine screening procedures for travelers who are allowed entry by visa from within the EU and concurrently, end up being mindful of – and assess – whether they rely on screening procedures being carried out in other countries currently.

Although we can expect a time out in tourism-related travel, Greece likely will not need to plead for travelers as soon as tourists resume regular income activities.

In addition, medical practice might likewise alter and need the ongoing training of doctor who might perhaps be hired by other EU countries for handling reactions.

This would provide a essential and special chance for Greece: promoting inward task production to offer resources while cutting the possible brain-drain that mightresult


Current technological developments with objectives beyond health care have actually likewise supported the area’s development consisting of in its method to health care.

In Horizon 2020, the EU program for research study and technological advancement, Greece ranked within the leading 7 countries for technology research study and advancement.

Covid-19 might provide an perfect chance for Greece to extensively execute telemedicine to continue social distancing – in reality, these possibilities are currently underway and will benefit Greece in the long term.

Greece needs to become a leader in the EU for their timely reaction following Italy’s break out.

The nation’s federal government has actually been transparent in interacting treatments and strategies, resulting in an overwhelming 86 percent approval rating of the partial lockdown and boost of trust towards the federal government.

In addition, the federal government’s circulation of EUR800 to furloughed staff members was vital to deepening this trust.

Lockdown efforts were referenced through the lens of remaining safe instead of simply remaining home, which have actually magnified the belief of nationalism and pride felt by Greeks.

As such, citizens want to await resuming instead of withstanding safety procedures and objecting closures for breaching their private flexibility.

Acknowledgment must be unconditionally offered to a nation that has actually achieved success in handling the COVID-19 pandemic has actually been considered exceeding expectations. Their reaction shows their strength and capacity for management in their own.

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