Greek twins Marianna (R) and Sofia Erotokritou pose for photos beside protective face masks donated to the Direct Action Directorate of Attica in Greece, June 10, 2020. Greek twins Marianna and Sofia Erotokritou delivered a fresh batch of thousands of protective face masks to the Greek police on June 10 to assist their country's fight against COVID-19, continuing their work as informal ambassadors of Sino-Greek friendship in recent years. The two young students, who have been living and studying in China since 2013, launched a campaign via WeChat to gather the supplies. Many of their Chinese friends donated sums for the purchase of 10,000 masks. (Photo by Lefteris Partsalis/Xinhua)
by Maria Spiliopoulou
ATHENS, June 11 (Xinhua) -- Greek twins Marianna and Sofia Erotokritou delivered a fresh batch of thousands of protective face masks to the Greek police here on Wednesday to assist their country's fight against COVID-19, continuing their work as informal ambassadors of Sino-Greek friendship in recent years.
The two young students, who have been living and studying in China since 2013, launched a campaign via WeChat to gather the supplies. Many of their Chinese friends donated sums for the purchase of 10,000 masks.
In May, they delivered 4,000 masks to the Ministry of Migration and Asylum and 1,000 to a hospital in Athens.
On Wednesday, they handed over 2,000 masks to the Director of the Direct Action Directorate of Attica, Brigadier Konstantinos Koutsivitis.
"I would like to thank the Erotokritou family for their selfless aid in masks that they donated to our department. They will help us so that we can do our work better," Koutsivitis told Xinhua.
Since Feb. 26, when the first COVID-19 case was diagnosed in Greece, the country has registered over 3,040 infections, including 182 deaths.
After a full lockdown that lasted from March 23 to May 4, Greece is gradually returning to normalcy, but the need is still there for citizens to keep safe distances and wear masks in enclosed spaces.
Greece and China have a long-standing friendship and record of cooperation, which has deepened in recent years. Shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, Greece confirmed its solidarity with China, and China sent the first large shipment of medical supplies to Greece.
Marianna and Sofia have been closely following the developments in the two countries from Athens, where they are stranded since January when they left Beijing for Greece to spend the Spring Festival holidays here. They will fly back to China in autumn for their graduation, they told Xinhua.
"We received messages of support and solidarity from people in China who wanted to help, so we came up with this idea," Sofia explained.
They regularly update their followers on social media about the completed and planned deliveries.
"They like it very much. They are proud of their participation and they want to see the video of our final delivery. Generally, the Chinese always want to help other countries. We have seen various donations they have made to several countries," Marianna said.
In China, Sofia and Marianna feel at home.
"Both peoples love family, support family. Family is the most important thing to both peoples and I believe this has to do with the fact that our nations, cultures and history have ancient roots. I feel we are closer to each other than compared to a few other nations in Europe," Marianna said.
"During our stay in China all these years, we have felt that the Chinese people love Greece very much. Nevertheless, we were missing Greece, so we started making tourist videos in Chinese," Sofia said.
"On our very first day in China we realized that our origin, being Greeks, is very important. Our fellow students, the taxi drivers, the people we would meet on the streets may not know a lot about Greece. Through our tourist videos we wanted to help them understand Greece more and better because Greece much more than the island of Santorini and the sea," Marianna said.