Greece’s regional airports are ready to handle the first incoming flights on Wednesday, July 1, after months of inactivity due to Covid-19, said Deputy Civil Protection and Crisis Management Minister Nikos Hardalias following a series of inspections over the weekend.
Hardalias carried out technical checks at the airports of Zakynthos, Kefalonia, Corfu, Chania and Heraklion on Crete, Karpathos, Rhodes, Kos, Samos, Chios, and Mytilene, and was scheduled to complete his tour on Monday, with the airports of Skyros, Lemnos, Kavala and Skiathos.
Speaking from the Greek island of Lemnos, Hardalias also announced the stationing of military health experts who will be responsible for conducting coronavirus tests over the next three months.
“The armed forces’ health authorities will be stationed on the islands for the next three months and will be fully responsible for Covid-19 screening. There will be 60 targeted tests done on every flight day based on specific criteria inserted into [the newly announced online] platform [Passenger Locator Form (PLF)],” said Hardalias.
The minister said that based on data generated through the PLF form – mandatory for all incoming passengers to be filled at least 48 hours before entering Greece – the government will prioritize Covid-19 testing.
Greece will in effect be monitoring where visitors travel to based on this form and whether or not they are from high risk countries, and then increase testing at this destination as part of its “Enjoy your Stay and Stay Safe” campaign.
“There will be no one entering the country without our knowing where they will be traveling to… We’ve completed the first difficult stage, but we have two months ahead of us in which time our reflexes, procedures and protocols will be tested,” he added.
Hardalias referred to the importance of managing potential coronavirus incidents with care, in order to ensure that tourism to the islands is not “stigmatized” and that no “misleading impressions are created through rumors or divergent approaches”.
In this direction, he stressed the need to act in a “coordinated manner… in the best interests of the next generations”, adding that the priority was to get the economy going and ensure the well-being of visitors, locals and tourism professionals.
In relevant news, the the tourism ministry also announced the locations of hotels to be used for Covid-19 isolation purposes.