Victoria’s Health Minister Jenny Mikakos is imploring Greeks of the diaspora to respect coronavirus measures and to stay at home.

The state minister told Neos Kosmos that the situation in Australia, especially Victoria, is encouraging as a result of strict measures which were imposed early on, however there’s still a long way to go and people should continue to be vigilant.

As a Greek Australian, she understands the significance of Easter as one of the most important feasts of Orthodoxy. “We like to gather around the table with our entire family, relatives and friends,” she said. “This year, it is imperative that we not follow this custom. For our health and the health of our loved ones; no large dinners, no visits. I implore Greek Australians to not go to their parents, nor for grandchildren to visit their yiayia and pappou. I know it is a huge sacrifice we are asking for, but that’s how it should be. We can exchange wishes via the telephone.”

Ms Mikakos explained that coronavirus carriers may not display symptoms, resulting in the spread of infections unbeknown to us.

“The elderly, especially, are among the most vulnerable and that could bring tragedy,” she said.

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“I think that Greek Australians all feel the same way, however we need to show patience.”

Ms Mikakos said that people’s hard work is paying off. “Yesterday (Holy Thursday) we had just one infection and that is positive but we shouldn’t relax,” she said. “Without restrictions, just one infected person can, in one month, infect another 400 people.”

For this reason, measures are in place in Victoria until 11 May which is when the situation will be examined again. “If we lift our restrictions too soon, there is the danger we may have a second wave of infections and results would be disastrous,” she said, adding that we should be even more on guard during winter.

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On Good Friday, Australia had 6,509 coronavirus cases and 63 deaths, of these 1,302 cases were documented in Victoria where there have been 14 deaths.

The National Coronavirus Helpline is 1800 020 080.