Greece wants to allow entry of vaccinated tourists

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Greece intends to end the quarantine for vaccinated tourists from certain countries from next week, the government said on Thursday, which is seeking to revive the tourism industry hit hard by the pandemic.

The initiative is part of a “pilot” program that will allow entry of people with the so-called vaccination passport before the official opening of the tourist season in Greece scheduled for mid-May.

“This is a pilot opening,” said government spokeswoman Aristotelia Peloni during a press briefing.

“This project concerns visitors from European countries or other countries who have either a vaccination certificate or PCR screening tests,” she added without giving further details.

In addition to the seven-day quarantine, travelers currently arriving in Greece must submit a negative test for the coronavirus, within 72 hours.

Only Israeli tourists, who are vaccinated, are not subject to these obligations as a result of a bilateral agreement.

Asked by AFP, the Ministry of Tourism has so far not provided details of this pilot project.

According to local media, the initiative concerns travelers from European Union member countries and countries that have vaccinated large numbers of their nationals such as the United Kingdom and Serbia.

Aristotelia Peloni, however, clarified that travelers will be forced to follow the containment restrictions in force in Greece, such as travel restrictions between departments.

Confined since November 7, Greece is just starting to gradually ease restrictions. Two weeks ago the non-essential shops reopened and Monday it was the turn of the high schools to open.

The EU is working on modalities for the implementation this summer of a health certificate intended to facilitate travel for Europeans who can certify that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19, or that they have pass a rapid PCR or antigen test, or they are immune after being infected.

Europe’s tourism industry has been ravaged by the pandemic, with many countries on the continent closing their borders allowing only essential travel.

Greece (nearly 11 million inhabitants) has seen an increase in daily cases of the coronavirus (between 2000 and 4000) in recent weeks, while the number of deaths has risen to more than 70 people. Almost 1.5 million people received the first dose of the vaccine.

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