It has been nearly one year since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Greece with huge repercussions, many not even calculated yet.
Given the evolution of the pandemic everyone knows that we shall not be freed anytime soon from this multi-faceted and complex public health crisis, which has a catalytic impact on the body of society and the economy, even as it affects the entire world and changes almost everything around us.
By all appearances, performance in the first two quarters of the year but also in 2021 overall will be determined by the intensity and depth of the pandemic, by the prospect of a new lockdown, and by the effort to expedite the vaccination process in order to stem its transmission.
Epidemiologists, doctors, and other scientists have not hidden the fact that the virus will continue to be transmitted in waves all over the world, threatening to claim the lives of many and creating obstacles to free movement, trips, and economic activity in general.
In brief, for a long time still everything will be occurring under the weight of the development and multiple repercussions of the public health crisis. Some believe these pressures will affect the social and economic life of the planet through 2024.
In any event, the global and Greek economies will for long be bound and trapped and will not be able to develop with any certainty plans and efforts toward a speedy recovery of embattled social and economic activities.
The public health risk will remain strong and sufficient to suspend decisions and delay choices that could create expectations of a quick recovery of suffering social and economic activities.
One might argue for good reason that the wave of expectations that was created recently for 2021 can only be confirmed partly and under specific conditions. Even if it comes, it will surely be lower than the expectations that have been cultivated.
Tourism and related economic sectors for example will not be freed up nor will they have a shot at quick recovery at 2019 levels, as most had expected. Exports will also be unable despite strenuous efforts to fulfil expectations of a dynamic recovery.
There is a common conviction that economic activity will continue to gasp under the weight of public health restrictions. It will collect obligations and duties for all – the state, businesses, and the citizenry.
In light of these grim prospects and the great changes being effected with lightning speed in all sectors of social and economic life worldwide, new provisions and a broader re-planning of everything is necessary.
The swift digitalisation of economies entirely changes the services industry including commerce. The use of spaces with public health interest takes on a different form and leads to buying real estate in a bygone era.
Entertainment, civilisation, and cultural goods have already entered a new phase.
Tele-work has completely changed the terms and conditions of employment.
The need to guarantee public health creates new priorities at hospitals and in healthcare more generally, and affects health policies overall.
The same stands true for education, transportation, and a host of services that disappeared over time, like cleaning or civil planning.
The conditions wrought by the pandemic require deep processing and certainly revisions. Obtaining and distributing the necessary funding takes on other dimensions.
The government and other political forces must to the extent possible be of one mind and process together a new national salvation plan, which entails the recreation and restructuring of the country.
This will happen through the prism of the great changes brought about by an apparently long public health crisis.