Athens stands on the side of the vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic

Athens stands on the side of the vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Greek capital has placed a special emphasis on protecting those most in need

Greece was an example of excellent handling of COVID-19 during the first few months of the outbreak of the pandemic, yet it is its cities' local governments that have given life to many of the policies decided by national authorities. The Greek capital of Athens not only adopted and enforced national recommendations and rules with vigour but also went one step further by providing additional and targeted support to marginalized and vulnerable groups of citizens that were in need of additional assistance.

Helping those who can not help themselves

Authorities in Athens quickly recognized that the measures that are being imposed would not impact everyone equally. Not only that, but those groups also had a higher chance of contracting COVID-19 and were more likely to experience severe symptoms. Thus, they went about making sure that marginalized and vulnerable groups receive extra protection during these unprecedented times.

“These very harsh times have taught us that the best outcome always comes with collaboration and consistent efforts. When city and civil society join efforts, the result is more than fruitful, as together we can open an ever-safer umbrella towards marginalized populations. In this battle against time, no one is to be left behind,” said the Mayor of Athens Kostas Bakoyannis.

Along with NGOs and other interested parties, the local government of the Greek capital not only provided information but also essential supplies like masks, antiseptic liquid and gloves to marginalized communities like the homeless, individuals who inject drugs, migrants and sex workers. Furthermore, authorities also made sure to create over 400 temporary homes precisely for those who need housing and required room for isolation.

“WHO supports Greece with advocacy and evidence-based policy guidance for COVID-19 and beyond. The ‘whole-of-society’ approach leaves no one behind and amplifies the best of social norms while creating a new positive normal that minimizes stigma and discrimination,” emphasized Marianna Trias, World Health Organisation representative for Greece.

Thanks to their efforts, authorities in Greece have saved lives that others might have discarded and once again showed the world what proper people-focused governance looks like.



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