But the country moved quickly to avert a crisis – announcing a lockdown on March 23 before its first COVID 19 case.
“The government’s decision to act quickly and go into lockdown before many other countries did was crucial,” Prof Karalis said.
He says ordinary citizens also deserve praise for their part in keeping the virus at bay.
“Greeks also have a strong resilience. They are a hardworking people – many hold two or three jobs. While they previously may not have trusted the government during the Global Financial Crisis, they do now and are following the rules.”
Greece, which only emerged in 2018 from a debt crisis that wiped out a quarter of its economic output, is desperate to let businesses reopen and fears the coronavirus will ravage this year’s tourism trade – which employs 25 per cent of the workforce.
Hair salons, flower shops and bookstores have reopened.
Small retail stores including florists and booksellers, opticians and spa services are among other businesses allowed to reopen. Schools, restaurants and bars are expected to reopen later this month. Hotels will start to open from June 1.
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