Statement by Christos Christofides, AKEL Political Bureau member, on Anastasiades’ handling of the pandemic and the support measures announced yesterday
In an interview today, President Anastasiades claims that there was no delay on the part of the government in the handling of the pandemic.
The truth is that the management of at least the second phase of the pandemic has failed. Unfortunately, it appears that expediencies have prevailed, as can also be seen by the public statements made by the members of the scientific team (advising the government). Over the past two and a half months, insufficient and contradictory measures were taken which did not yield results, measures that were again changed in a few days. Consultation with professional groups and the social forces was absent all this time, resulting in the measures adopted become much more painful for a section of the population. A characteristic example is the fact that measures were announced affecting all enterprises and organizations on Friday noon without giving them any room whatsoever to plan for all those affected.
A simple record of the existing serious problems in our hospitals and in the functioning of schools reveals the significant delay. Mr. Anastasiades himself announced in his first address to the country the allocation of 100 million Euros for the health sector. How is it possible that the health system isn’t be able to manage the situation today? Why was this amount not allocated? It is obvious that the government ruling forces rested on their laurels with their celebrations over the summer citing the “successful management of the pandemic” without proceeding to ensure the proper preparation (for the second phase). The delay that has been demonstrated in the way our schools operate is also obvious.
Finally, vaccinations are progressing very slowly and today just 0.5% of the population has been vaccinated. We expect the overall planning for vaccinations in Cyprus to be presented with transparency.
On the support measures for working people/enterprises
The government’s support measures that have been announced for working people and enterprises provide necessary reliefs so that society and the economy, which are under great pressure, won’t suffocate.
However, the most important thing we want to stress is that the prolonged duration of the crisis is generating increasingly more and more social problems for the great mass of working people. Without any doubt social inequality is constantly widening. Small and medium-sized enterprises, as their businesses are closed, are being destroyed. Young people are unable to find work and unemployment is rising, whereas loan installments and rents are mounting.
It is clear that the time has come for the government to enter into a process of dialogue for the substantial upgrading of the Cypriot welfare state. This debate in Europe has begun. The return to so-called “normality” after the pandemic cannot be done by pursuing the same policies of austerity and neoliberal impunity.
The people have made enormous sacrifices and are constantly paying the price of crises. The time has come for long-term measures with the perspective for an advanced welfare state.
Source: Progressive Party of the Working People – AKEL – The return to “normality” after the pandemic cannot be done by pursuing the same policies of austerity and neoliberal impunity