Greek authorities have decided to increase the number of Covid-19 quarantine hotels as well as ship isolation cabins in order to address a rise in cases over the last week.
There are now 47 Covid hotels operating countrywide up from 30 hosting people hit by the fast-spreading Delta variant.
Greek authorities are also considering using ferry cabins not only to host Covid-infected travelers but also to transport affected individuals from the overloaded health centers on the islands to Athens, Kathimerini reports.
Official decisions are expected this week, after an emergency meeting took place with State Minister Giorgos Gerapetritis on Monday.
Government Spokesperson Aristotelia Peloni told a press conference this week that the government would be re-examining its quarantine hotel protocols, and urged the participation and cooperation of local hoteliers and accommodation facility owners.
The move comes after Mykonos was all but shut down due to a spike in coronavirus cases earlier this week. The government warned that similar orders may apply to other hard-hit islands and areas including Paros, Santorini, Ios, and Crete’s Rethymnon and Chania.
Speaking on SKAI radio on Tuesday, Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said the issue of quarantine hotels had been resolved and that ferries would be transporting Covid-infected individuals from the islands to Piraeus or to other quarantine hotels.
Hoteliers: Visitors with Covid staying at short-term rentals should quarantine there
At the same time, Greek hoteliers are calling on the government to take action and to rule that people infected with Covid already staying at short-term rentals should self-isolate in the spaces they booked and not be accommodated at quarantine hotels meant for hotel customers.
Hellenic Hoteliers Federation (POX) President Grigoris Tasios said quarantine hotels had reached their limit because besides accommodating infected tourists staying at hotels, they are also handling travelers staying in short-term Airbnb-style rentals.
“The number of quarantine rooms was calculated based on the total number of beds of legally licensed tourist accommodation facilities,” said Tasios, “however, the largest percentage of quarantine rooms is actually being used by tourists staying in apartments, villas, etc. which operate without a license, rented in the form of a short-term lease,” Tasios said.
“Quarantine hotels are not hospitals, nor do their owners have any intention of turning them into hospitals,” he said “These should serve tourists who are found to be Covid-19 positive, who do not need hospitalization and cannot be isolated in the tourist accommodation where they were staying.”
The federation’s president proposed that tourists staying in unlicensed short-term rentals inform the National Public Health Organization (EODY) and the general secretariat for civil protection which should find alternative quarantine space.