Greek govt boosts coronavirus emergency econ package

Thursday, 19 March 2020 22:06
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The Greek government on Thursday significantly upped the ante of an emergency economic response to keep the economic afloat amid and after the ongoing coronavirus "lockdown", after essentially being freed from fiscal restraints by European partners this week.

Taking to the national airwaves for a third consecutive afternoon, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said an 800-euro per month benefit to employees of closed businesses would - until the end of April - will be extended to staff of businesses still open but severely affected, as well as to self-employed professionals.

The Greek state will also cover social security contributions of employees in the private sector, while suspending the obligation to pay social insurance dues during the affected period by self-employed professionals.   

Additionally, an extraordinary "Easter benefit" will be doled out to public healthcare staff and civil defense staff-members.

In total, the emergency package could reach 10 billion euros.

Mitsotakis also emphasized that increasingly drastic measures taken in the country - such as halting flights to and from Greece as of Sunday and banning public gatherings of above 10 people -  aim to keep any Covid-19 outbreak contained.

"The next few weeks will be decisive for the country. It's up to us for them (upcoming weeks) to prove tough and complicated, but not nightmarish. I ask you, therefore, to not lose what we've gained over this recent period... In Italy, they don't have enough caskets to bury their dead. I also detect here, as well, by certain people, an unjustifiable complaisance, which I will not tolerate."

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