Greece confirms it will axe Covid travel ban

Greece says its tourism services will open on May 15, although a travel ban between different regions in the country is lifted.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced yesterday that restaurants and cafes will be allowed to reopen outside areas from May 3rd.

Restrictions, many of which have been in place since early November, will remain in place over Orthodox Easter on May 2nd.

Greece has already lifted quarantine restrictions for travelers from EU member states, the USA, Great Britain, the United Arab Emirates, Serbia, Israel and non-EU members Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, which are part of a European travel pact.

Travelers from these countries are no longer subject to a seven-day quarantine requirement.

“Our goal is a safe Easter and a free summer. But one cannot undermine the other, ”said Mitsotakis.

“That’s why we shouldn’t travel for Easter. Athens and other cities still have many cases of Covid. Mass movements carry the risk of spreading the virus everywhere.”

Despite the lockdown, Greece has struggled to contain flare-ups in cases that started in late January and its death rate remains above the European Union average. The cumulative death toll reached 9,713 on Wednesday.

Tourism is a key industry for the Greek economy and travel revenue fell more than 75 percent last year compared to 2019, from £ 15.7 billion to £ 3.7 billion.

It is open to foreign visitors who are fully vaccinated against Covid, or to those who can provide evidence of a negative Covid test performed within 72 hours of travel.

The Greek government has launched Operation Freedom, which aims to vaccinate the population of at least 69 islands.

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