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Greece fared better than richer countries during the pandemic because of investment in health infrastructure and an early closing of borders, the country’s prime minister said on Tuesday.
The EU member state managed to avoid the full effect of the pandemic’s first wave, Kyriakos Mitsotakis told an online conference on health security.
He acknowledged that avoiding the impact of the second outbreak was not possible. “Yet the government did invest in its national health system, and fared better than richer countries,” he said.
Mitsotakis noted that delays in vaccination rollouts were caused “at the EU level”, but added that he felt “proud that the EU managed to procure vaccines on behalf of all its member states”.
He said that Greece’s financial crisis last decade had made the country more resilient. “Greece went through a lot in previous years, but our democracy came out stronger.”
The prime minister added that Greece had a plan for the safe reopening of its tourism sector, using self-diagnostic tests and digital vaccination certificates.
The country’s parliament passed a bill introducing a Covid-19 digital certificate by a broad majority on Tuesday.
Greece recorded 1,339 new infections the same day, according to the National Public Health Organization.
Since the start of the pandemic, Greece has identified more than 400,000 infections and recorded more than 12,000 deaths.
The country will soon be included in the UK “green list” of destinations where travel is permitted, Kate Smith, British ambassador, told a tourism webinar.
Greece is now on the “amber list”, which means that Britons are advised not to travel there.
If they do, passengers must pay for at least three Covid-19 tests — before flying, and two and eight days after — and must quarantine on their return for 10 days, unless they also pay for a fourth test to get out early.