On Holy Monday 13 April 2020, the Minister of National Defence Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos accompanied by the Deputy Minister of National Defence Mr. Alkiviadis Stefanis, the HNDGS Chief Konstantinos Floros and the HAGS Chief Charalambos Lalousis, paid consecutive visits to the 700 Military Factory in Piraeus and the 441 Medical Supplies Depot in Athens.
The Minister was thoroughly briefed on the production-promotion capabilities and demands, covered by the Military Factories for the Armed Forces’ needs, as well as for the National Health System in the context of battling the Corona Virus “Covid-19”.
Following his visit the Minister delivered the following address:
“Today, along with the Deputy Minister, the HNDGS Chief, as well as the HAGS Chief, we had the opportunity to visit the productive infrastructures of the Armed Forces.
Disinfectants, liquid soap and other materials are produced here at the 411 Medical Supplies Depot in Athens and the 700 Military Factory in Drapetsona area which produces clothing and footwear, these days also produces medical masks to cover the needs of the Armed Forces, as well as the wider needs of the medical personnel of the country.
What we saw impressed us in both production units. Especially here at the 411 Medical Supplies Depot where they produce pocket size disinfectants that also come in family size packages and they are distributed to all Units of the Armed Forces, throughout the country, and to our draftees. What we saw really impressed us.
The personnel is really outdoing themselves to meet the rising needs. They are scientists with marvelous qualifications working intensively in shifts to cover the needs of the Armed Forces as well as of those in need of the material produced here by the Hellenic Army.
I would like to congratulate them all, especially their Commanders for coordinating this great project. I would like highlight the fact that the Armed Forces are always by the side of the Greek society during dire times. Hence, this intensified effort doesn’t concern solely the needs of the Armed Forces personnel which are totally covered. It also concerns the entire Greek society which knows and feels that the Armed Forces are present supporting this great effort with their conscientiousness, their professionalism and of course their effectiveness. Congratulations to all!”
The Minister also answered questions posed by public television.
GIORGOS SIDERIS : Mr. Minister since we are here at a medical laboratory, can you briefly comment on the rather upsetting information, that amongst all those gathered at the Asia Minor coastline there are some who have the virus which has become a pandemic…
NIKOLAOS PANAGIOTOPOULOS: This specific information concerning immigrants who probably contracted the virus in Turkey, undoubtedly demonstrates the fact the Turkey is faced with a serious coronavirus problem in its interior.
So, the scenario of immigrants being forwarded via land and sea borders was attempted and failed during the Ash Monday holiday in the region of Evros. It is reasonable to think that some of these people may have contracted the virus. Hence, we are planning ahead, we are analyzing and processing all information and we are working hard on finding a solution to the problem, which is shot out of proportions because of the coronavirus.
We will continue doing what we do. We will continue issuing orders to the Armed Forces personnel, the Hellenic Police and the Coast Guard, aiming at deterring all at those who try to violate our national borders and illegally enter our territory.
We remain alert! I have repeatedly stated in the past that the cooperation we have with the political leadership, the Deputy Minister who is with us today, the HNDGS Chief, the HAGS Chief, the Citizen Protection Ministry, the Hellenic Police and the Coast Guard is impeccable at all levels.
I believe our efforts are paying off. This was proven during the Ash Monday holiday and the effort is still on, I would say at the very same pace.
We are after one thing: Greece seeks to protect in all possible manners its fundamental right of national sovereignty, which means that its borders cannot be violated. The instructions are clear. The orders have been issued by the Prime Minister himself following our proposals and an extensive dialogue on the problem, and this paves the way for the way ahead.
GIORGOS SIDERIS : So, we have two main fronts. The coronavirus in the interior of the country – by the way the weather is improving… - and of course the border issue…
NIKOLAOS PANAGIOTOPOULOS: We are at the most critical point of the effort to flatten the curve and control the spread of the coronavirus in the interior of the country.
So far so good! It would be disappointing as we are approaching Easter Sunday and the weather is improving- hence many would be tempted to go out in the sun – to make go to the waste all this collective effort.
People should continue doing what they are doing so successfully. They should be patient, show temperance and self-control, follow the strict self- isolation measures taken by the Government early on, to battle the bug. A little more patience would be wise.
Summer is approaching as well, spring is here, but if we want to enjoy summertime, which will probably bring the loosening of the measures, we will have to demonstrate temperance and self-control.
All those responsible for taking the measures don’t mean to punish anyone by limiting our freedoms, this is the only way to protect the population, to protect ourselves, our beloved ones, the entire society, to secure the good of public health – and – protect human lives.
This is our way ahead and since we have done well abiding by the rules, we should continue doing so…it’s almost over!”.