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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 09-07-24
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 PM's Stern Reply to Papandreou over āFluā CriticismLast Updated on Friday, 24 July 2009 23:03
Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis issued a stern reply to main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Friday afternoon, following the latter's high-profile letter to the premier requesting additional action and information on state efforts to prevent any outbreak of the novel influenza, an issue that received extensive local press coverage this past week.
PM's Reply to PASOK Leader
āI regret the fact that, with your letter, you demonstrate either ignorance or intent to approach this very serious issue in partisan manner.
We are the first (country) in Europe to employ a preventative check at airports and entry points, at the same time briefing visitors and citizens with special pamphlets. Additionally, within the national action plan, a specific series of actions has been established to brief susceptible groups within society and the general population.
I do not understand why you even ignore the operation of the inter-ministerial committee, which I convened for the first time on May 9, 2009, as you now recommend its establishment, namely, three months later. You should also not forget that the health minister has already briefed the relevant parliament committee over all of these related issues. Allow me to inform you that he (health minister) will again appear next week and, naturally, whenever necessary in the future.
In conclusion, I would like to assure you that we do not oppose anyone's advice or ideas, quite the opposite. However, it is lamentable to attempt to exploit such an issue for petty party expediencies at such a moment," the premier charged.
Papandreou's Letter to the Premier
Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, in a letter on Friday addressed to Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, expressed strong concern over the likely aggravation of the situation as regards the A/H1N1 novel influenza (swine flu).
He suggested setting up a Standing Ministerial Committee chaired by the prime minister, stressing that he puts all party cadres and members at the disposal of the competent authorities to contribute to the "national effort", as he characterized it, to limit the negative impact of the novel influenza on the country. He also underlined the need for a comprehensive national plan and accurate information "with no more delays and inconsistencies in the public dialogue."
Papandreou mentioned that "my own concern, stemming from the lack of a serious operational planning as regards preparation and coordination, is shared by the country's medical and scientific communities."
The leader of PASOK underlined that the problem is taking the form of a management problem, concerning preparation, planning, coordination of responsible agencies, public information and mobilization of the state and social mechanisms.
Papandreou mentioned that his concern becomes more intense due to the lack of policies observed in recent years that would have reinforced infrastructure and manpower in the sector of health.
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