Tsiodras: No age group safe from Covid-19, society must protect elderly

In his daily press briefing on the development of Covid-19 in Greece, health ministry spokesman and infectious diseases professor Sotiris Tsiodras, who is an advisor to the PM, offered an emotional defence of the extreme restrictive measures taken by the state to protect the elderly and other vulnerable groups from the virus including a sweeping quarantine.

He underlined that no age bracket or social group is immune to the disease.

In referring to the problems faced by medically vulnerable groups (the aged, those with heart conditions, and those with weak immune systems among them) he appeared to have held back tears and choked up regarding the difficult but necessary trade-off of limiting liberty to save senior citizens.

Fortunately, Greece has not yet had to confront the wrenching Sophie's choice-type medical ethics dilemma with which doctors in the overburdened heath system of Italy has been confronted - having to choose whether to treat either the young or the old and to sacrifice the latter.

In particular Tsiodras almost broke down while revealing that a distinguished colleague sent him a message in which he essentially questioned why there is such a fuss over saving the very elderly.

"The wonder of medicine is its ability to prolong the lives of these people. They are our mothers and fathers, our grandfathers and granddaughters. Human life cannot be put on a scale. Without them we would not exist or have an identity," he said.

'No one is entirely safe'

Tsiodras stressed that nobody is 100 percent safe and protected from the new virus and that 75 percent of cases involve individuals between the ages of 18 and 64.

Stemming transmission depends on following guidelines

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