Self-gratification can lead to a slippery slope

by Antonis D. Papagiannidis

Greece has adopted a demanding policy, Greeks have followed a difficult path in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Early lock-down has not been just legislated, but also largely adhered to by a Mediterranean, less-than-displined population: was it an internalized feeling of threat? Was it acceptance of science-based public policy? The end result was successful containment of the virus as well as dodging of the worst risks an overloaded (break) NHS might entail.

The powers that be, meaning those who designed and implemented the weeks-long policies of social distancing culminating is a full (well, almost full) curfew in the very days of Easter celebrations, basked in the light of their success; but also the general public felt elated. The wider world joined in acclaim of the policy followed. From (German) Handelsblatt to Sueddeutsche Zeitung, from (French) Les Echo – to (Canadian) The Globe and Mail, but most importantly from (global audience) Reuters to Bloomberg, the success of Greek efforts to combat Covid-19 were acknowledged; this added to self-esteem.

Still, self-gratification can lead to a slippery slope. Now that an exit strategy from lock-down is sought, the fact that Covid-19 cases were kept to a minimum through the lock-down approach means that immunity in the wider population is at minimum levels. If some tourist traffic is to be reclaimed once the months of freeze are over, the question arises: with what kind of precautions will the tourist trade reboot be acceptable? Would one imagine incoming tourists welcomed with precautionary routines (short of 14-days quarantine…) such as temperature-taking or fast testing at the border?

Last but by no means least: what of the country’s response to a second wave of Covid-19? in Greece or in countries that have already relaxed their lock-downs?