Greece will be requiring travelers from China to take a Covid-19 test 48 hours prior to boarding and wear a high-risk mask during the flight, said the government after a crisis meeting presided by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Health Minister Thanos Plevris.
According to public broadcaster ERT, Greece has decided to follow the EU’s recommendations presented on Wednesday and to introduce pre-departure Covid-19 testing on all arrivals from China as the Asian country re-opens to cross-border travel on January 8 despite a surge in coronavirus cases.
The Greek health ministry is expected to announce further details in the coming hours.
The EU also agreed on Wednesday to re-assess the situation on January 19.
“I welcome the agreement of member states on a coordinated EU response to the Covid-19 situation in China at yesterday’s IPCR meeting. China must share data transparently on its current situation. We can only tackle the pandemic if we work closely together at EU and global level,” said European Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides via her twitter account.
Besides pre-departure testing for travelers from China, the EU’s Health Security Committee also encouraged member states to step up wastewater monitoring at airports and aircraft for potential new coronavirus variants and increase domestic surveillance.
“The member states are strongly encouraged to introduce, for all passengers departing from China to member states, the requirement for a negative Covid-19 test taken not more than 48 hours prior to departure from China,” said the EU presidency in a statement.
None of the measures are mandatory however which means that each EU countries will decide which if any measures will be imposed.
Additionally, EU national governments are also encouraged to offer health and hygiene guidance to international travelers from or heading to China as well as to aircraft and airport staff.
Earlier this week, the National Public Health Organization (EODY) had said that Greece would not be imposing stricter travel rules despite the fact that several European countries including the UK and France as well as the US said they would be.
Travelers from China visiting Greece must:
– present a negative Covid-19 test conducted 48 hours before departure
– wear a high risk mask on board flights (FFP2, N95, or KN95).
China said the introduction of measures is “unacceptable”.