The news that the UK Parliament looks likely to pass new pandemic measures which include a 5,000 pound fine for unnecessary foreign travel until July has caused consternation in Athens, where it was hoped that UK visitors would be among the first and most numerous to take advantage of the reopening of Greek tourism from May 14.
On Monday the authorities announced 1,707 new cases of Covid-19, 69 deaths and 681 patients intubated in ICUs. There were 394 new admissions with Covid in hospitals across the country.
The week began as the last one ended, with the national health system under immense pressure from Covid-19 and the government trying to find ways to cope with the crisis while under fire from the opposition.
All eyes were on the government’s decision regarding the relaxation of lockdown measures on Friday, as Covid-19 continued to spread across Greece.
The European Commission’s decision to back the issuance of so-called “Digital Green Certificates” for travel has been welcomed by PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis as a potential boost for Greek tourism.
Even though the public health system remains under severe pressure due to Covid-19, the government is planning an imminent relaxation of lockdown measures in what seems to be an admission that the Greek public has become fatigued and that this is having political consequences.
The controversy over growing protests and the reaction of the police continued over the three-day weekend which marked the start of Lent in Greece, prompting what seems increasingly like a strategic turning point for the country’s main political parties.
The recent arguments over police brutality and street violence were aired in Parliament on Friday as Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis sought to hit back at allegations that his government is allowing officers to act with impunity by proposing a range of measures to monitor and improve their behaviour.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on Thursday the continuation of economic support measures through April, as the persistence of Covid-19 infection rates raises the likelihood of another extension to the lockdown.
Greece revealed its worst Covid-19 data so far this year on Tuesday but that was overshadowed by the clashes that broke out in the Nea Smyrni neighbourhood of Athens following a protest against police violence.