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Government Secures Return of Stranded Greeks

The Greek government as of last week has launched a repatriation operation to ensure that Greeks stranded abroad, due to travel restrictions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, can get back home.

The operation is being coordinated by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with Aegean Airlines.

“The state is doing everything it can to help Greek citizens, wherever they are… We are in the process of completing a major repatriation operation to bring Greeks back home from countries that have closed their borders,” the Greek Deputy Minister of Civil Protection and Crisis Management, Nikos Chardalias, told the media on Saturday.

Already, some 100 Greeks stranded in Marrakech were flown to Athens from Morocco on a special flight last Wednesday.

On Saturday, emergency flights brought Greeks back from Madrid and Warsaw to Athens. On Sunday, more repatriation flights were scheduled to Athens from Madrid, Barcelona, Prague, and Belgrade. A special flight with stranded Greeks was also scheduled to take off from Kiev (via Mouzenidis Travel) to Thessaloniki. In addition, a Minoan Lines ferry transporting Greeks that were stranded in Italy arrived to Igoumenitsa and Patra from Ancona on Sunday.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, over 1,000 Greek citizens have been flown back to Greece and another 280 will be repatriated from Cyprus in the coming days.

Photo source: Prague Airport

Photo source: Prague Airport

“Upon arrival in Greece, everyone fills out the required 14-day self-quarantine form, are registered on the Civil Protection tracking platform, which is followed up regularly by the authorities,” Chardalias said.

The deputy minister added that the Greek authorities are following up on the health status of all passengers from incoming flights that have arrived in Greece since last week.

On Sunday it was revealed that out of 217 follow ups of travelers that had returned to Greece from abroad,  13 quarantine violations were uncovered by the authorities. Each individual was fined 5,000 euros for defying the quarantine rule.

Repatriation flight from Tbilisi

A repatriation flight to transport Greek citizens from Tbilisi, Georgia, to Athens is currently being planned and is expected to take place in the next few days, according to the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Greek citizens wishing to return to Greece are advised to contact the Embassy of Greece in Tbilisi on +995 322 914970-74 or send an e-mail to grcon.tbi@mfa.gr.

Useful contact numbers for Greeks that are abroad can be found here.

About the Author
Nikos is Greek-American born in New York, USA, and has lived in Greece for over 30 years. He is the managing editor of Greece's leading monthly travel and tourism guide, the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) since June 2008 and of news site GTP Headlines since its launch in September 2012. Nikos has also served as international press officer for the City of Athens and for the mayor. He has a degree in Mass Media and Communications, specializing in Journalism. Nikos is a native English speaker and speaks Greek fluently.

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