Greece was never going to be the likeliest international success story in managing COVID-19. The country had only begun to recover from an almost decade-long financial crisis. Years of austerity measures left its infrastructure underfunded and its bureaucracy under enormous strain. And yet, the stoicism that comes with having been in economic turmoil for most of the last decade was central for Greece’s success in the first critical weeks of the pandemic.
Athens was well prepared in implementing a set of lockdown measures and quick to enforce them. Thanks to long familiarity with hardship, Greek citizens generally heeded scientific advice and followed the tight restrictions. As a result, Greece has registered comparatively few infections and deaths, with 3622 confirmed cases and a death toll of 193.