Greece debt crisis: Medicines start to run out as Greek businesses are prevented from sending payments overseas

Food and medicine shortages are already starting to be felt by tourists

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Medical shortages in Greece are worsening as Greeks can no longer send payments overseas, making it impossible for companies to pay suppliers such as pharmaceutical companies.

Greek paper Kathemerini has said that at least three companies in Greece, including its biggest electronic appliances chain, have paid staff in cash.

Banks are due to stay shut until at least Friday as the Greek government tries to halt the outpouring of cash from the country.

Last week, Greece’s main medical supplier set up a committee to monitor the consumption of medicines in the country and guard for shortages. Dimitris Kontos, head of the supplier EOPYY, said that the situation was under control.

Food and medicine shortages are already starting to be felt by tourists.

Kathemerini has reported that the Cycladic Greek islands, where a number of tourists are holidaying, are threatened with shortages of meat and medicine because local businesses no longer have the money to pay their suppliers.

Booking have already taken a nose dive. The Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises has reported a drop in bookings of between 30 and 40 per cent in the last few days, amounting to 240,000 bookings in five days.

In response the Cyclades Chamber of Commerce is pressuring the government to do everything in its power to avoid such shortages, which could be fatal for the tourist industry.

The alternative minister for tourism Elena Koutoura said on Thursday that payments for tourism enterprises such as hotels and restaurants were being prioritised. But Kathemerini reports that hoteliers are already warning they will have to shut down, just a year after the record tourism season of 2014, which saw Greeks welcome more holidaymakers than ever.