Greek president takes to social media to unite nation in pandemic battle, urge public health discipline

‘The restrictions that have been imposed upon us may seem asphyxiating for our temperament as Greeks. However, we should and can comply,’ said President Katerina Sakellaropoulou.

Greece’s first woman president who recently assumed office has chosen to make her first statement on the coronavirus crisis through Facebook.

Katerina Sakellaropoulou urged Greek citizens to meticulously abide by the instructions of experts and the state.

She particularly stressed the guideline that everyone who can should stay home and exit and move about only when necessary

She also expressed the nation’s gratitude to those social groups who are in the frontline in keeping society on its feet, from doctors and nurses to employees at supermarkets and food stores.

Acknowledging that abiding by strict restrictions is not in the Greek temperament, she marshaled the historical record to show that when Greeks have exhibited responsibility and solidarity they have successfully overcome great trials.

Finally, Sakellaropoulou underlined that technology can bring the self-isolated population together and keep critical social activities such as school and university learning going.

She also suggested that in professions where it is feasible for employees to work at home businesses may discover the financial benefits of teleworking as well as the benefits for employees.

On her first Sunday in office, Sakellaropoulou in a symbolic gesture attended the raising of the Greek flag by the Presidential Guard at the Acropolis of Athens.

The full text of the statement is as follows:

In the unprecedented conditions that all of us have been experiencing of late I strongly feel the need to continue our contacts via the social media in my new role.

It is paradoxical, but as long as the coronavirus lingers the only way to protect our loved ones and fellow citizens is to stay far away from them.

As long as it may take and until we transcend the crisis we have no other choice.

Collectively and individually we must faithfully follow the instructions of specialised scientists and state authorities.

We stay at home and minimise our movements and exits from the house.

These are guidelines which I myself follow to the extent that my presidential duties permit.

The restrictions that have been imposed upon us may seem asphyxiating for our temperament as Greeks. However, we should and can comply.

We have demonstrated in previous difficult moments in our history that when responsibility and solidarity prevail we transcend problems, as intractable as they may seem – perhaps not unscathed but certainly stronger.

I stand by your side just as I stand beside all those who are in the frontline of this battle: mainly doctors and nurses, security forces and Civil Protection authorities, pharmacists, employees at food stores and in the entire supply chain who keep working so that we all can obtain necessary goods, and all those who do not have the ability to work from home.

I owe – we owe – them an enormous debt of gratitude and I shall personally assist in their efforts in any way I can.

Our country, Europe, and the entire planet is in the midst of an unprecedented crisis the consequences of which right now we are unable to predict or even imagine.

The endurance of our economy will be tested and emergency support measures for employees and businesses will be required.

At the same time, we must also remain optimistic. The progress of science and our interconnected world will allow scientists to act more swiftly than ever. It will allow school and university students to maintain their contact with knowledge.

It will allow businesses to test in practice the substantial benefits of teleworking as regards productivity and employee satisfaction.

It will allow most of us to self-isolate without feeling alone.

We will manage to get through this. With discipline, prudence, calm, and optimism we will manage.

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