NEWS

Government failed to support scientists or set up track-and-trace, Tsipras says

Government failed to support scientists or set up track-and-trace, Tsipras says

The government made "criminal mistakes" in its handling of the pandemic, main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance President Alexis Tsipras asserted during an interview with Crete TV on Friday, while predicting political fallout "very soon".

"The government did not take steps to strengthen the scientific community and for the existence of a reliable track-and-trace system," he said, while he also referred to issues relating to the prime minister's source of wealth statement.

Among others, he accused the government of turning a deaf ear to scientists' warnings last October, as a result of which northern Greece "almost turned into Bergamo", and mentioned the furore over alleged political intervention to allow potential Covid cases into Greece with "discussions held over [burner] phones".

"We came out of lockdown in the same state as we entered. There was no increase in public transport runs, schools opened just as they closed. There was no reinforcement of primary healthcare or the national health system. Nearly 11,000 people lost their lives outside an ICU. There was a criminal attitude, a criminal inertia with respect to reinforcing the national health system. No use was made of experimental pharmaceutical treatments," Tsipras said.

He accused Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of adopting a strategy of "divide and rule" so that citizens don't turn against him, saying that the premier had launched a "clumsy" generalised discussion on mandatory vaccinations, linked to the dismissal of public-sector staff, at a time when this was not necessary.

"The ministers, on the one hand, are terrorising the citizens, while the Maximos Mansion, on the other hand, is saying that things are not exactly like that. A stick and carrot approach," he said.

This deliberate strategy of disunity and division was leading the country "down a slippery slope", Tsipras added, at a time when "we can only face the pandemic collectively and with unity."

"I appeal to the citizens to observe the measures, get vaccinated and not adopt theories that are not scientifically sound," he emphasised.

Tsipras said a time of intense political confrontation was approaching and predicted that there will soon be political developments, including snap elections, "due to the great contradictions of the government's policies, the major impasses that it is creating the economy and society."

"Mitsotakis won the elections with the slogan more jobs, fewer taxes, more security," Tsipras pointed out. Instead, he added, the government delivered a labour law that "turned the eight-hour day into a 10-hour day, legalised unpaid overtime and flexible labour relations, while reducing labour rights."

As for tax cuts, he noted, some big business groups may have seen them but not the overwhelming majority of the citizens, while crime in Greece was "unprecedented...with people killed in broad daylight" and a "stench of police involvement".

He referred to recent revelations of a sex trafficking case involving a young girl and a police officer in Ilioupoli and "suspicions of special treatment" during the latter's arrest, noting that he had been kicked off the force by the Papandreou government to be reinstated under that of Antonis Samaras.

"We are told that this person was also given a very favourable transfer a few days after the elections in 2019," Tsipras added, while he also raised suspicions of a cover-up in the affair involving the director Dimitris Lignadis.

On the indictment of Nikos Pappas, Tsipras repeated that "the SYRIZA government was the most honest government in the country [since 1974]. If they turned us upside down, they wouldn't find a single euro. Pappas is being led to trial because the people that [former premier Costas Karamanlis] called 'pimps' became angry."