Greece supports economy with 10 bln euros, suspends hotel operation

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Photograph artwork copyright © Travel Gazette.
Photograph artwork copyright © Travel Gazette.

The Greek government will support the economy with at least 10 billion euros (10.67 billion U.S. dollars), Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Thursday after announcing the 6th death of the novel coronavirus in the country.

In his second televised message this week, Mitsotakis reiterated that the coming weeks will be crucial for efforts to tackle the epidemic in Greece.

He called on citizens once again to demonstrate responsibility, comply with the measures introduced so far and avoid unnecessary movement so that the spread of the virus can be controlled.

Mitsotakis welcomed the latest decision of the European Central Bank (ECB) to include Greek state bonds in the bank’s quantitative easing program, which reduces the country’s borrowing costs and secures significant liquidity for the real economy.

He pledged immediate support to all businesses and employees affected by the virus’ economic impact and those on the frontline of the battle, adding more categories of beneficiaries to the package of support measures announced on Wednesday.

A 800-euro benefit will be given in April to all employees whose labor contracts have been suspended temporarily due to closure of businesses upon the government’s order, but also employees of enterprises which remain open but suffer losses in revenues.

The same amount will be handed to people who lost their jobs this month. Doctors, nurses and all professionals working in the Civil Protection system will receive an Easter bonus.

“Nobody in our country will be left alone until this new adventure is over… The next day could be better. We stay home, with optimism, decisiveness and above all healthy,” Mitsotakis said.

Until then, Greece is further strengthening restrictive measures to contain the virus spread.

Before the prime minister’s message, the Ministry of Tourism announced that from this Sunday till the end of April all hotels nationwide will stay closed.

Only three will remain open in Athens and the same number in Thessaloniki and one in each capital of regions across the country, according to an e-mailed press statement.

So far Greece has 464 confirmed cases registered nationwide, including 46 new cases which were diagnosed since Wednesday, the Health Ministry announced.

Also on Thursday, Greece reported its 6th fatality. The victim was a 70-year-old man, with underlying health problems who was being treated at Kastoria hospital in northern Greece, according to a ministry press briefing.

A total of 78 persons were currently hospitalized, including 16 in intensive care, and the rest were in isolation at home, while 19 persons have been discharged since the first case in the country was registered on Feb. 26.

From March 12 until Thursday, a total of 174 persons have been arrested for violation of government measures against the spread of coronavirus, according to an e-mailed press statement from Greek police.

The arrests concerned the illegal operation of hairdressing salons, cafeterias, restaurants, flower shops, sports facilities, and retail shops to which current restrictions apply.

Since last week, Greece has also closed schools and universities and introduced restrictions in land, air and sea travel with many countries.

As of Wednesday the government has banned entrance for non European Union citizens, with a few exceptions, and is also implementing a 14-day quarantine for travelers from Schengen countries. (1 euro= 1.07 U.S. dollars)

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