"We are fully prepared, the referral hospitals throughout the country have already been assigned in order to deal with possible incidents and we are fully ready," Deputy Health Minister Vassilis Kontozamanis said on Wednesday, speaking to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) radio station "Praktoreio 104.9 FM" about the Greek authorities' plan for dealing with any coronavirus cases that may arise in Greece.
Kontozamanis noted that Greek authorities had past experience in dealing with epidemics and were following World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, as well as having clear instructions from both the health ministry and the National Organisation for Public Health (NPHO), which were working together with the education and other relevant ministries so there was complete readiness to deal with coronavirus incidents, should they arise.
"There is no reason to make people panic. We must reassure people, though we do not, of course, relax our efforts. We must, however, be reassuring," Kontozamanis said, adding that "this is a virus that has a low mortality rate and is manageable."
"We are on alert, we have taken all the necessary measures, we are in communication with WHO, which issues the guidelines and we are fully ready," he stated.
Regarding collaboration with other ministries, the deputy minister said that the government was being fully informed and the NHPO has had a meeting with the deputy education minister, giving clear instructions to schools around the country, to the entry points into the country and distributing informational material, while a NPHO operation plan was now in full deployment.
"We have done it before in the past, we have the experience and know how to handle it," he noted, adding that the government could not rule out the possibility of a coronavirus incident but was fully confident that it could be handled.
Concerning vaccinations against seasonal influenza, Kontozamanis said that one million additional people had been vaccinated this year, in comparison with the previous year. "I believe that we have built an adequate wall of immunity and that the current year will go well," he said.