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Tourism is Not Causing Covid-19 Spike in Greece, Says Minister

Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis.

The increase of Covid-19 cases in Greece is not related to tourism, Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a conference focused on the future of Greek hotels in the post-Covid era, held by the Tourism Ministry and the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, Theoharis presented data and said that the percentage of positive coronavirus (Covid-19) cases that have been “imported” through Greece’s borders was “extremely small”.

According to data presented by the minister, during the first 10 days of July, 105,609 arrivals were tested at Greece’s border points and only 74 positive cases recorded. “The positivity rate is 0.07 percent,” he said.

Theoharis stressed that based on the 105,609 test samples, authorities found that the positivity rate at the country’s land borders is “practically insignificant” at 0.01 percent. At ports, the positivity rate was found to be 0.07 percent and at airports 0.09 percent.

“As expected, tourists from countries such as the United States, for example, with the highest number of vaccinations, had the fewest cases,” the minister said, adding that the average age of people who tested positive for coronavirus at Greece’s border points is 35 (with 58 percent being male and 42 percent female).

Athens, Greece - July 2020: People wearing masks for COVID-19 in eleftherios Venizelos Airport in Athens, Greece.

Athens International Airport. Photo: Shutterstock

“The insignificant rate of positive cases at the country’s border points clearly shows us that the increase in Covid-19 cases in Greece is not related to tourism,” Theoharis highlighted, stressing that the country’s vaccination program must pick up speed.

Underlining the importance of protecting public health, the minister urged residents to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

“I am afraid that there are many who have not realized that this summer Greek tourism depends on the fastest possible progress of vaccinations,” he stressed.

The Greek tourism minister underlined that already 5.3 million citizens in Greece have been vaccinated with the first dose, while some 4.3 million are already fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

“However, during the summer, at least 70 percent of adult Greeks must be vaccinated. This is our goal and this is our duty… The only sure path to freedom is vaccines. We can not envision the future of Greek tourism if we do not shield the present,” he said.

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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.
  1. Morales Reply

    I have friends that travelled to Greece for vacation and at the airport no one but seriously no one of them were checked or look for the certificate of covid test…if they didn’t have covid is because the country from where they are coming is more serious than Greece. Airport is a joke! Bars, restaurant opens…people travel in tram to the beach like a in a can of sardines…while the ones who work in other sectors we couldn’t and we can not work…let hope vaccine save us from a new lockdown…

  2. Brigitte Eckert Reply

    So what is it related to? Why do infections shoot up since tourism started again? Many people coming from different places, mixing very closely, phantasizing “freedom”. Forget it and close your borders again in order to protect Greek population.

  3. Rajen Shah Reply

    Will greece allow more tourists from non EU countries like India in August?

  4. Pamela+Wigham Reply

    Well done Greece. Very commendable.

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