After one year, Greece has become one of the most characteristic cases of blatant failure concerning COVID-19 pandemic control. The situation is getting worse and the National Health System of Greece receives extreme pressure, while there are signs that it has already crashed.
According to some recent reports, "A record number of patients with Covid-19 in Greece are on ventilators on Thursday. The total number of people undergoing the treatment has reached 706, breaking the previous record of 699, which was recorded on both the last two consecutive days, on Tuesday and Wednesday."
With the help of jodi.graphics we present a brief timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country:
February 26, 2020: The first verified COVID-19 case in Greece.
March 10, 2020: The government shuts down schools and universities.
March 12, 2020: The first death in Greece from COVID-19.
March 23, 2020: The first lockdown in Greece.
March 28, 2020: COVID-19 cases in Greece exceed 1,000.
May 4, 2020: Government lifts quarantine measures.
June 15, 2020: Government "opens" tourism.
August 2020: COVID-19 cases in Greece exceed 10,000.
September 2020: COVID-19 cases in Greece doubled in one month.
October 2020: More than 40,000 COVID-19 cases in Greece.
November 8, 2020: Government decides a second lockdown.
November 15, 2020: Government shuts down schools.
November 2020: The worst month with 64,648 COVID-19 cases and 1,780 deaths.
January 11, 2021: Government opens schools.
February 11, 2021: Government shuts down schools again.
March 17, 2021: A new black record since the beginning of the pandemic in the country with 3,465 COVID-19 cases.
Although Greece was not hit heavily from the pandemic last year, at the time where big European cities had to deal with a very difficult situation due to the COVID-19 first wave, Mitsotakis regime didn't manage to control the second wave after the end of the summer.
The Greek administration opened the borders for tourism without adequate control. While the opposition was warning that the tourists should be checked more strictly with rapid tests at the main entrances, Mitsotakis regime evidently retreated to big corporate interests (foreign and local) of tourism industry.
While scientists were warning for a second wave after the end of the summer, Mitsotakis regime did nothing to reinforce the National Health System with doctors and equipment. Did nothing to reinforce the public transportation system, nor the public education system. All these, despite, again, the warnings from the Greek opposition parties.
As we wrote back in July, 2019, right after the general elections in Greece, the current New Democracy party is a product of the Greek oligarchy establishment. The party - especially after the eruption of the Greek crisis in 2010 - has been transformed into an unprecedented and peculiar mixture of some of the most fanatic neoliberals and some of the most fanatic nationalists.
New Democracy has four years to implement the most devastating neoliberal program, without any significant resistance. This is its sole mission. To transform the country into a neoliberal paradise for the oligarchs and the foreign investment 'predators'. And this 'brilliant' plan will be paid one more time by the Greeks, who will see the destruction of public health and education. The destruction of social state. The complete looting of public property. The destruction of whatever has left from labor rights and social security.
It seems that the hardcore neoliberals of Mitsotakis regime see an opportunity inside the pandemic to fulfill this mission faster and more efficiently.
The regime has implemented one of the most strict lockdowns in Europe for almost five months now and it's taking advantage of the situation to pass bills in a sub-functioning parliament, in favor of big corporate interests.
Police state has been significantly reinforced and any protests against corruption or police brutality are treated with more violence from the police forces under the pretext of the lockdown measures.
Any big scandals, or cases of extreme police violence are coming on surface thanks to the social media and the independent press affiliated to the opposition. That's because the big media of the Greek oligarchy support the regime tooth and nail through an unprecedented propaganda, while the regime also controls the national public broadcaster (ERT) as it has put its own people in key positions.
Meanwhile, the vaccination rate is extremely low, as the regime, unlike other countries, simply follows the orders of the EU without seeking alternative vaccines outside the European line. And since the vaccine fiasco clearly demonstrates the failure of the neoliberal EU to deal efficiently with the pandemic, Greece's failure concerning this part too, is something that should not surprise us at all.
Meanwhile, a statement by professor Vana Papaevangelou, who is responsible for the everyday information about the pandemic, provoked an outrage in social media and the independent opposition media. She stated that obviously there have always been deaths outside ICUs, but the percentage of patients who lose their lives outside ICUs is very small, at 20%.
Papaevangelou's statement reflects perfectly the perception of Mitsotakis regime about public health. Obviously, the fact that "only" 1 out of 5 COVID-19 patients die outside ICUs is considered a small percentage and therefore there is no need for more ICUs in the public health system. The ruthless neoliberals of the regime, even at the peak of this terrible pandemic, refuse to reinforce public health system and remain focused on their original mission. Which is to privatize everything, without rules and scrutiny, for the big corporate interests and the Greek oligarchy.