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Greece Re-examining Rules for Travel in View of Delta Coronavirus Variant

Greece is re-examining rules for travel and restriction-free admission into the country after the emergence of the Delta variant of Covid-19, said Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis on Monday, describing the summer ahead as a “delicate balancing act”.

Referring to the situation in Spain and Portugal, and the spread of the deadly virus in the UK, Theoharis said maintaining a balance was “very difficult”, adding that arrivals from dangerous countries were currently “under the microscope”, including travelers from the UAE, the UK, Portugal and Russia.

Speaking on Mega channel, he said that based on health expert guidance, Greece has decided to test all travelers from Russia regardless of vaccination. Starting today, he said, Greece has approved 39 Russian flights a week. Vacationers from Balkan countries, he said, were in the clear.

In terms of occupancy rates, the minister said he expected 2021 to be a better year compared to last but estimate levels at 25 percent, on the “pessimistic” side, he said

Theoharis reiterated that should the epidemiological situation deteriorate anywhere in Greece, the government will proceed with urgent measures including lockdowns if necessary.

“We are trying to make sure that we will have as few restrictive measures as possible without however endangering the health of our visitors and citizens,” he said.

The Greek minister also referred to comments made by German Chancellor Angela Merkel that Greece was accepting travelers inoculated with vaccines not approved by the European Medicines Agency. He suggested she speak with the country authorities which have approved the vaccines. Earlier today, Reuters reported that Germany was looking to ban British travelers from the EU regardless of whether or not they have had been vaccinated.

Citing Greece’s epidemiological progress, Theoharis referred to the country’s four-level preparedness map, which he said is a practical tool for tour operators who can direct travelers to destinations with high vaccination rates. (The map is available in English, here.)

Lastly, he said land borders would open when the epidemiological data allows. “As of July 1, we have border openings for tourists in Thrace, Bulgaria, Northern Macedonia 24 hours a day. At the same time, three border points are being constructed to handle incoming travelers faster,” he said.

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  1. David Reply

    If the British ‘government ‘ was more trustworthy and wasn’t mired in sleaze and cronyism the situation would be better. Europe doesn’t trust the UK and therein lies the problem. Greece is a sovereign nation and will decide it’s own entry policy however whilst jingoistic nationalists are in power in London the problems will not go away.

  2. DOBIGNY Reply

    I AGREE WITH YOU FERGUSON
    I SPENT HOLIDAYS FOR 40 YEARTS IN GREECE
    I LEARNED THE LANGAUGE WRITE READ AND TALK

    THIS YEAR TOO MUCH IS TOO MUCH
    EVERYONE KNOWS THAT EUROPEAN VACCINS ARE NOT BETTER THAN RUSSIAN
    THIS IS A NEW WAR BETWEEN USA AND RUSSIA
    POOR GREECE , DEVASTATED BY TOURISM, NO MORE MOUSAKA OR CHORIATIKI ON FERIES
    AN UGLY GOODIES LIKE MAC DONALDS AND BLOODY FRENCH FRIES ONLY BECAUSE FUCKING YOUHT AND THEIR PARENTS ARE DEBILE ESPECIALLY FRENCH AND SCANDINAVIAN AND WITHOUT EDUCATION

  3. Marie Reply

    Reading comments like if we don’t let the brits in they will never come back , your charming bojo put Greece on his no go list despite the fact we had a better epidemiological picture , instead you all went to Portugal and the Portuguese are now in deep sh&t so stay away

  4. Christopher Coomber Reply

    Greece is in a very difficult situation
    and under extreme pressure from the EU who fail to realise the devastating effect of banning double jabbed Brits from the country. Greek citizens have bills to pay rent to pay etc so it is a balancing act. There must be a compromise here test Brits at the airport on arrival if necessary.

    • Pamela+Wigham Reply

      I agree the compromise would be to test. British people will be having a PCR test before they leave in any case regardless of whether they have been fully vaccinated, but I am all for tests being carried out upon arrival. Having booked to visit Rhodes 4 times only to have the bookings cancelled. As a visitor who is fully vaccinated I am trying one more time. If this one in September is cancelled, I am giving up. The cost is too great for this year.

  5. R Ferguson Reply

    I tell you what if Greece bans people from the UK because of the Delta variant we will never be back, you are listening to the Germans who are in the huff because we left the EU.
    Here in Northern Ireland we have not had a big problem we should not be put in with a UK ban.
    We are on an island separate from the UK and should be treated differently.
    We love Greece and have spent a fortune on vitus test kits, if Greece lets is down we will not be back.

    • Mark+brealey Reply

      Speak for yourself. I will not quit going to Greece because of the opinion of brexshitters. And the Germans I know feel sorry those of dragged down by it rather than having the hump

    • Christopher Wicks Reply

      Greece is doing it’s very best to open up tourism. It is not reacting to anyones ‘huff’ at UK leaving the EU. It is unfortunate for NI and Scotland and other parts of the UK who were against Brexit but please keep that separate from this debate. Mass travel from the UK to Portugal for a football match may well be linked to the difficult situation they find themselves in. Greece does not want to let anyone down so needs some support and patients and understanding.

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