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Greece Proposes EU-wide 72-hour Pre-travel Covid-19 Test

Greece is calling on the European Commission to adapt its proposal for a pre-travel coronavirus test to be instituted across the EU in order to allow travel to begin once the lockdown measures are lifted.

According to reports in news site Politico and Greek daily Kathimerini, Greece will request that Wednesday’s College of Commissioners examine the possibility of lifting EU measures by June 15 and that its proposal for a test to be taken by travelers 72 hours ahead of travel be implemented by all EU countries.

Politico cites a non-paper issued by the Greek side requesting the “fair treatment” of all travelers, underlining that Greece stands against any “biased” health protocols that would be “citizenship-based” and stringent airline regulations such as leaving an empty seat on flights to avoid the potential spread of the virus.

It is reminded that last Friday, some of the rules included on Greece’s proposed health protocols were made public.

Photo © GTP

Photo © GTP

It should salso be noted that on Monday, the UK said it would gradually be “reopening” as the pandemic dies out requiring visitors, including UK citizens entering the country to self-isolate for 14 days at a specific facility with the exception of the French.

“We cannot allow the single market to be fragmented when it comes to tourism services,” the Greek document said, which is also requesting that quarantine measures be lifted as well as other “disproportionate or deterring requirements” to be implemented on the return of travelers to their country.

Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis has reiterated Greece’s proposal for travel in the coronavirus era, underlining that Covid-19 pre-flight screening 72 hours ahead of travel in the country of origin will ensure that travelers are healthy and “already feel safe when they board the plane” as well as the health of host countries.

Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis

In this direction, Greece has been putting pressure on the Commission to introduce a Union-wide health protocol that will be respected by all member states and thus allow travel to begin in efforts to save hard hit economies.

Theoharis has stressed however, that if the EU fails to do so, Greece is already exploring the possibility of creating a “safe travel zone” with Israel and Cyprus – all countries with low Covid-19 infection and death rates – as well as entering tourism pacts with specific partner countries.

According to reports, the Commission is expected to propose on Wednesday, easing EU lockdowns “in phases” before restoring free movement. At the same time, it may also suggest lifting bans in countries that have managed to contain the spread of Covid-19 and allowing travel between member states on condition that health checks are carried out.

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About the Author
Chicago-born and raised, Maria Paravantes has over two decades of journalistic experience covering tourism and travel, gastronomy, arts, music and culture, economy and finance, politics, health and social issues for international press and media. She has worked for Reuters, The Telegraph, Huffington Post, Billboard Magazine, Time Out Athens, the Athens News, Odyssey Magazine and, among others. She has also served as Special Advisor to Greece’s minister of Foreign Affairs, and to the mayor of Athens on international press and media issues. Maria is currently a reporter, content and features writer for GTP Headlines.
  1. Valeriia Gavrylenko Reply

    Bellen Jan,
    if you travel to Greece in the beginning of July, please let me know (and if you could take one person with you (me)).

  2. Jenepher Bridge Reply

    Agree with above comments. Anyone can be a carrier of the virus after the test. It would be a tragedy if beautify Greece became infected with more cases of coronavirus. They are doing so well at the moment.

  3. Konstantinos Sifakis Reply

    Test? Easy to say, hard to apply and not reliable method, sicne you can get any kind of virus anytime, anywhere after test too.
    Who will pay for the tests.. people? Imagine trying to fly.. having stress if you can actually fly and have the stress for tests as well. +On most of the ppl who already trying to fly we have vouchers that we won’t be able to use (cancelled flights).. +We can’t fly whenever we want because we already planned with our work for specific dates.
    I’m trying to flight, willing to pay a little more but it’s getting already so stressful day by day.

    To all the “democratic countries” out there:

    I respect everyone’s fears, but I’m not willing to live with fear and stress. OK some measures when things goes really bad are acceptable but locking people for so long is INSANE. People are losing their jobs/companies. All countries are vialating sooo many HUMAN RIGHTS!! WTF?!?
    It will sound pretty bad and selfish.. but enough is enough!! Those who want to live in a “full body condom world” buy it and live in it!! I just want to live free even if that means less.- QUALITY OF LIFE>QUANTITY OF LIFE. It’s my personal opinion and I’m sorry if I offended anyone.

    Want to save lifes? You can do so many things. People are dieing from hunger, thirst, polution, AIDS (which is treatable for the rich), no medical support and the list goes on!!

    I just want our freedom and human rights back! Do I ask a lot?

    • Marguerite Debois Reply

      Lorsque vous avez un simple rhume, estimez-vous que vous pouvez secouer votre mouchoir souillé sous le nez des autres ? Si oui, alors postillonnez joyeusement dans la foule et prenez le risque de voir souffrir et mourir vos proches et tous les autres, qui sont aussi les proches d’autres…, etc…

  4. Diana Giannoulis Reply

    Many countries have barely enough tests for care workers etc. and are unlikely to want them used by holidaymakers? If paid ones are available they will add yet more costs to what will probably be more expensive flights, more expensive travel insurance (if it exists) Etc. I would think it definitely isn’t as easy as it seems.

    • Gerrit, The Netherlands Reply

      Yes Diana. This is indeed not a good idea because many countries will oppose it. For the reason you mentioned. There are barely enough tests for medical staff. And yes, can you imagine how much it will cost for a family of four people? Greece is balancing on a cord. They are blessed with a low Covid infection rate but they want tourists to earn a living. What will happen if after three weeks of accepting tourists again infections take a spike in holiday destinations in Greece?. A total shutdown I am afraid. It looks like a Gordian Knot.

  5. Bellen Jan Reply

    What about traveling from Belgium to Greece by car via germany, austria, croatia, serbia, bulgaria. is that posible?

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