The Greek government decided to ban the move of mainland Greeks to the islands as they thought they will have protection from conoravirus there. However, authorities think otherwise and therefore, only permanent residents will be allowed to travel to the islands. The measure to contain the spread of the pandemic goes into effect at 6:00 o’ clock Saturday morning, March 21, 2020.
Still on Friday morning and despise authorities warnings, ferries left the port of Piraeus and were so crowded like in the peak of summer holidays.
The massive internal migration of the last days forced the government to radical measures, one of the many since the virus outbreak. The ministries of Shipping and Civil Protection took the relevant decision Friday noon, late on the day the official ministerial decision is to be issued with possible exemptions and restrictions..
The message is We Stay Home, we restrict our movements to the utmost necessary to protect ourselves and our fellow citizens. Some people still do not follow the instructions to Sta Home, so we have to do everything we can.,” Shipping and Island Police Minister Giannis Plakiotakis said.
He added that auditing of permanent residents will be done with the tax return filling showing the permanent address. This is a document absolutely necessary for anyone traveling from the mainland to the islands, the Minister stressed.
The ferries will supply the islands, transport permanent residents and bring non-residents back to the mainland.
The decision is taken before the weekend where authorities would wait another big wave of internal migration to the islands.
” We have to protect the islanders in every way, because the health system there is not sustainable,” Plakiotakis said.
“The smaller the island where one believes he will resort to protection, the more difficult, if not impossible, is one’s care should one fall ill,” the Minister stressed.
By Thursday, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases on the islands is limited to Lesvos (1), Karpathos (1) and Crete (4).
The woman on Lesvos was a pilgrim to the Holy Land, the nurse on Karptathos had not recent travel history, on Crete, the confirmed cases had traveled to Athens or came from Germany.
Interior Minister Takis Theodorikakos appealed to Greeks to stop going to their villages or send their children there to stay with grandparents. He reiterated that the health care system in villages and small towns cannot cope with the pandemic.
According to official data on coronavirus in Greece until Friday (March 20) morning, there are 464 confirmed cases and 7 deaths.