CORONA – GREECE a MIRACLE ?

Solidarity, love and respect are the answer

Tanimanides, Panayiotis - Artforum Culture Foundation

Tanimanides, Panayiotis - Artforum Culture Foundation

In unprecedented openness and cooperation, politics, healthcare and society have recognized the seriousness of the  impending pandemic and acted accordingly.Compared to what is happening worldwide, we can call it the miracle of Greece. In Greece, politics and healthcare seem to control the pandemia. Or is it just a trick to save tourism?

Many Greeks are amazed about their own discipline in dealing with the Corona Virus. And they welcome the government's crisis management. The fact, that Greece has an incredible low rate of corona infections and deaths seems to be a real miracle. But – what are the reasons and why this has not been noticed anywhere in the world?
Concrete early measures and preparations by the government and the right decision to speak with one expert voice to the Greek people, have reduced fear by insight into what is necessary. It was really the right idea that virologist Dr. Sotiris Tsiodras  had inform and educate every evening on TV about the new infection. Accordingly, Greece was well prepared for the pandemic. For further information please compare COVID-19 pandemic in Greece.

Lockdown to protect everyone

Very early decisions led for corrective measures. All carnival parades were prohibited in time. Schools and universities, restaurants and cafés were closed early. This was a simple but great opportunity from the start to keep new infections low. Social hardship was balanced out equally for all people by a newly introduced short-time work allowance (800 euros per person).
There was a great deal of insight into curfews, where the houses or apartments were only allowed to be left in exceptional cases. This was of course surprising for the Greeks, who traditionally love spending time outdoor. But the insight into social cohesion was exemplary. More than 85 % of Greeks are satisfied with crisis management.

Formative power of social coexistence

Given the years of economic crisis, one could have expected a disaster, similar to the neighbouring countries of Italy and Turkey. The fact that this has not happened, despite involuntary savings courses, especially in the healthcare sector, is also due to the high quality of medical training and the commitment of doctors and nurses. Thanks to the formative power of social coexistence swarm intelligence could spread.

Tourism is a great opportunity for Greece, but not at any price

Last but not least, we hope that the planned opening of the country to tourism will not negate the previous advantage. Great caution and strict regulations are not an affront to guests right now, but a necessary sign of a great Greek “invention”, philoxenia. Precautionary measures protect the people in the country - and thus also the guests.

But there are also voices indicating that the Greek statistics are insufficient and not comparable. Too few people have actually been tested. Perhaps the strikingly positive picture is determined by the fact that Greece will be very quickly attractive again  for tourists in order to mobilize this important economic factor.
Anyway, every further step should be evaluated very carefully and, if necessary, reversed very quickly.
Let us be wise of harm so that we can hopefully step into a bright future after a period of delay.

Don’t forget Migrants

Maybe it's also luck and the good weather that has saved Greece from disaster so far. It is not disputed that the Greeks' social responsibility for each other has shown what love and respect can do. A great cultural heritage may be revealed again. Many Greeks themselves have been victims of flight and migration for political and economic reasons. Approximately the same number of people in their own country now lives scattered over almost every country in the world, so called diaspora. No question, it should be an obligation to spend empathy for people in hopeless situations. To get effect it need of course two ways: on the one hand to do everything possible to combat the causes and on the other to give optimal support to each individual. Love and respect will be the source to end the terrible situation of people in refugee camps. We have to understand – and corona pandemic demonstrate it day by day – that we are all in one boat on one world. The actual behaviour of so many people in Greece should have consequences. Hand in hand, government and society in cooperation with a new EU strategy must fight to stop inhumane migration and lager policy.