Greece is expected to remove its quarantine restrictions for some travelers starting next week, according to recent reports.
In March, Greece announced it would welcome tourists by May 14, as long as those tourists have antibodies, have been vaccinated or have tested negative for the coronavirus. However, the country will now receive travelers from the European Union, the U.S., the U.K., Serbia, Israel and the United Arab Emirates starting next week, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
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As long as those visitors are fully vaccinated or show a negative PCR coronavirus test negative within 72 hours of arrival, they will not be required to quarantine. However, tourists will still have to abide by the country’s lockdown restrictions, according to the outlet.
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“We will gradually lift the restrictions at the beginning of next week ahead of the opening on May 14,” an anonymous senior tourism ministry official told Reuters. Visitors from those approved countries will be allowed to enter Greece via two border crossings and airports in Athens, Thessaloniki, Heraklion, Chania, Rhodes, Kos, Mykonos, Santorini and Corfu.
Another anonymous senior tourism ministry official told The Guardian that those airports are expected to reopen on April 19.
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“They are baby steps before the country opens as planned for tourists on 14 May,” the official told the newspaper.
“We’re not expecting tourists to start arriving en masse, but the system needs to be tested,” the official added. “It can’t be switched on, in one go, overnight.”
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Currently, all travelers to Greece have to test negative for COVID-19 and quarantine for seven days, Reuters reported. Another negative test is also required for travelers from the U.K. and the United Arab Emirates when they arrive.
The Mediterranean nation relies heavily on tourism, with one in five workers employed in the industry, Fox News previously reported. Before the pandemic, Greece had about 31.3 million people visit the country, The Guardian said. Officials hope to have at least half that number of tourists this year, according to the newspaper.