Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his health minister Vassillis Kikilias were at Athens’ international airport to receive a huge consignment of surgical masks from China which was paid for by Onassis Foundation and the Union of Greek Shipowners.

The consignment of 8.3 million masks arrived at Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport on Tuesday and, according to Mr Mitsotakis’ Office, would be distributed to hospitals throughout the country. A consignment of 5.2 million masks had arrived on Monday .

“On behalf of the National Health System and all the Greek people, I would like to thank you for this extremely generous offer, to strengthen the National Health System in a time of crisis, with a very significant donation of 13 million masks that will be used exclusively to be able to shield those who are at the forefront of dealing with this very big crisis: doctors, nurses,” said Mr Mitsotakis on national television in thanking Antonis Papadimitriou, president of the Onassis Foundation for the shipment.

Officials said that along with the Onassis Foundation, the Union of Greek Shipowners had also contributed towards the cost of the equipment  and of bringing it to Greece.

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With Greece in middle of a two-week lockdown that began on 23 March, Mr Mitsotakis reminded people to maintain social-distancing practises during the forthcoming Easter holiday season.

“This year we will have a different Easter than we are used to. We will not go to our villages, we will not roast lambs in our yards, we will pray from our home, but it will be the exception to the rule so that we will be able to protect ourselves and our loved ones,” he said.

The Onassis Foundation president said that the total cost of the deliveries was 7.7 million euros.

“We believe that this is a minimal sample of honour and reciprocation for the doctors, nurses and administrative staff in hospitals who are currently fighting for all of us, for our health,” said Mr Papadimitriou.

Chinese online agency reported that earlier this month Greece received a donation over one million masks and other medical supplies from China.

The  Greek health ministry announced  on Tuesday 82 new cases of Covid-19 with seven people having died. The total to date was 1,314 Covid-19 cases and 49 deaths.