The considerable time we have spent in voluntary social distancing as a means of protection against the spreading of the corona virus has been for most of us a time for reflection, personal assessment, and most importantly, a time for making decisions on our future course, after the end of the pandemic. In Greece, the first phase of health protection measures against the pandemic has been successful, however, the second phase will be a lot more complex. In order to achieve the highest protection of the population while suffering the least economic losses, close cooperation between individuals and societal groups is needed, and well thought-out political decisions have to me made. Flexibility is also needed in modifying the existing plans according to the new data and the effectiveness of the measures that are being taken
The most important condition for successfully dealing with the new situations that will arise during the second phase, is reaching a solid consensus on what exactly individual citizens should do. Reaching consensus on the protective measures that have been implemented so far was what made the first phase so successful. During the second phase, the consensus will need to address both health protection of the population as well as recovery of the economy. In order to succeed in reaching a consensus, we will need to make a conscientious effort to place the good of all Greek citizens ahead of our personal financial interest. An encouraging factor for dealing effectively with the challenging second phase of the pandemic is the realisation and the satisfaction that we were able to go through the first phase with a minimum loss of human lives. Hopefully the humanity that has prevailed during the two months of our mandatory self-isolation will be the basis for moderation. This is not the time to have unreasonable demands on the state for compensation of individuals for loss of wages or businesses for loss of income. The reduced economic activity of March and April, which at times in many areas was non-existent, cannot be dealt with unreasonable financial demands in terms of subsidies. Furthermore, it is very obvious that public finances cannot survive an extended period of granting subsidies or offering reductions of the tax rates for individuals and businesses. We need to agree on the fact that the burden of the present economic downturn will have to be carried equitably by everyone. Everyone of us needs to accept that we will all experience a reduction in our finances. Once we reach a consensus on this necessity, we will be able to judge with constructive criticism the economic policies that will be implemented. Thus, if necessary, we will be able to intervene in a mild and cooperative manner, so that we may help right any injustices or even advocate for favourable regulations for some needy societal groups.
By reaching a common understanding on what needs to be done during the present circumstances, we can address the new situations that will develop during the evolution of the pandemic, calmly and with clear thinking. Closer human contact will bring increased economic activity and the reopening of various business operations, so that we can eventually return to the normalcy of the pre-pandemic days. Given that even if we take all the precaution measures, we can still get infected or infect others with corona virus, we need to keep in mind that protecting just ourselves is not enough. We also need to worry about others and help protect everyone that we come in contact with. In this way, we can develop the conditions for mutual protection, which will help bring about closer relations among people. In a time of crisis, we might develop emotional relationships that are much more meaningful than the ones that we have experienced before the outbreak of the pandemic, an emergency which has threatened the lives of all of us.
Medical scientists believe that the elimination of the corona virus and the pandemic will happen only when an effective vaccine is developed. Coordinated research efforts will hopefully produce medication that will be effective in treating patients infected with COVID-19. We should remember that even in the field of medico-biological science, collaboration plays the most important role. Medico-biological information is exchanged through transnational collaboration and through publications of experiment results in scientific publications. It is the same preparedness for collaboration that is fostered by the whole human community at times of crises, so that dangers can be addressed, particularly new, not well-defined dangers, such as in the corona virus pandemic. This kind of cooperation between the citizens and the scientists of different countries as well as the cooperation between state leaders makes the vilified concept of globalisation much more desirable and beneficial.
We are hopeful that at the end of this general health and economic crisis, we will all come out of it more aware, sensitive and cooperative. We are hopeful that we will always remember in the course of our lives the collaborative initiatives that have come as a result of our common desire to combat this pandemic.