Flights from/to Holland and to/from Germany with the exception of Athens will be suspended as of Sunday, March 29, 2020, head of Greece’s Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias said on Saturday. He announced that there will be no general repatriation for Greeks stranded abroad and cited a few exceptions. Based on recent experience, health authorities fear of more “imported” coronavirus infections that will arrive with flights.
Flight to/from the Netherlands will be halted from 6:00 a.m. Sunday, March 29 until 6:00 a.m. April 15, 2020.
Also halted and for the same period are flights form/to Germany with the exception of those to/from Athens Internationla Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos.”
As for similar suspension, excepted are the following categories: cargo, sanitary, humanitarian, ferry, state, military, Frontex as well as flight to support the National Health system, flights in emergency status and for refueling.
There will be no general repatriation for Greek citizens stranded abroad. This would have a devastating impact on the public health in our country,” Hardalias said.
He added, exceptions are for those with medical reasons, pregnant women or those lacking housing in foreign countries.
State Minister Giorgos Gerapetritis said earlier on Saturday that the government is even considering to close the airports in the country in a later stage.
Speaking to Skai TV, he said that 6,500 people who came from abroad are in house isolation and this is something that burdens the system as police has to conduct checks and track contacts.
Those who have no reason to return now, will not come, he added.
Two “imported” cases on the islands of Ikaria and Kefalonia were recorded on Saturday.
A 25-year-old who returned from UK violated the house isolation and travel to Ikaria, thus becoming the first confirmed case on the island. He visited the locla hospital, has mild symptoms and returned to isolation.
A 31-year-old man who recently traveled by car and ferry boat from Sweden to Kefalonia is the first confirmed coronavirus case on the island in the Ionian Sea.
Small communities especially on the islands ring “red alert” when a confirmed case is found. Health care facilities are poor and emergency air-transport from the islands is not easy nowadays.
Greece has already halted flight to/from countries with high numbers of coronavirus, like UK, Italy and Spain and Turkey, and implemented the EU decision to not allow entrance of non -EU citizens.
The recent repatriation of several hundreds from Spain ended in ‘house isolation’ in a hotel in Athens and dozens of people tested positive.
Dozens of Greek have been stranded in the Stansted airport in London for almost three days waiting repatriation. Only those with health problems were allowed to return on Friday.
Worth noting that the village of Echinos by Xanthi, in north-eastern Greece, was placed in quarantine on Friday after one man died and several residents were tested positive on COVID-19. Cause for the outbreak in the 3,000-people village was the massive return of Greeks working in Sweden and Germany. They left the countries in order to be with their families and brought the virus with. And they came by car.
More on coronavirus in Greece and lockdown measures here.
PS If you are Greek citizens seeking repatriation, please, contact Greek Embassies and consulates.