Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on Wednesday, May 20, that Greece will open the country to tourists from Monday, June 15, in an effort to support the country's economy, employment, and tourism, in the coming months amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Mitsotakis further announced that Greece's 2020 tourism season will begin on June 15 to coincide with the reopening of the country's seasonal hotels. International flights will begin from June 15 at Athens International Airport (ATH) only. From Wednesday, July 1, all Greek airports will be open to all international flights. Mitsoktakis also announced that individuals visiting Greece will be required to undergo COVID-19 sample tests upon arrival and must abide by the country's general health protocols. Tourists visiting Greece will not be required to have a COVID-19 test prior to travel nor will they be quarantined after arrival.
The Greek government extended the ongoing entry-ban for non-EU citizens into the country until June 15. There are exceptions for children or spouses of EU and Schengen nationals, members of government delegations, long-term residents, and passengers in transit.
Some of the country's COVID-19 travel restrictions for travelers arriving from Bulgaria and Serbia will be eased from Monday, June 1. Following a videoconference with the leaders of Bulgaria, Serbia, and Romania, the Greek government agreed that travelers arriving from Bulgaria and Serbia may enter the country without undergoing an obligatory 14-day quarantine period if they are entering for business, family, or humanitarian purposes, and complete a health declaration. Romania is pending the approval of its Parliament before it joins this agreement.
Greece gradually began to ease COVID-19 restrictions from Monday, May 4, with individuals no longer needing movement certificates within their area of residency. Most retail shops reopened on Monday, May 11; however, malls and restaurants remain closed until June 1. Face masks will be required in certain public spaces including supermarkets and public transport. Ferry services, including travel between the mainland and Crete also resumed on May 11.
Although certain international flights to Greece are permitted, they must land at Athens International Airport (ATH) until Sunday, May 31. Flights to Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands remain suspended until May 31 at the earliest. Flights to the UK are expected to resume on Wednesday, July 1, while flights to Albania, Macedonia, and Turkey are suspended until Sunday, June 31. Air France has announced that it will be resuming services to Athens from Saturday, May 23. Additionally, an entry ban on non-European Union (EU) citizens into Greece remains in place through May 31.
As of Thursday, May 21, health authorities have confirmed 2850 COVID-19 cases and 166 associated deaths in the country. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.
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