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Greece says COVID-19 tests for tourists in departure countries

Determined to open the country to holidaymakers and to rescue the tourism season amid the coronavirus pandemic, Greece says that COVID-19 tests should be conducted at the country of departure before holidaymakers arrive in the country. This will minimize concerns for tourists and the local communities.

In an interview with German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis said that hygiene requirements are top priority. “An environment must be created in which people can travel, spend their holidays with us and return to their countries in the same safety and without problems even at risk to be placed in quarantine upon their return.”

Interview excerpt:

Journalist: Whoever wants to enter Greece should show a negative test for coronavirus? Or should this only be done after arrival?

Theoharis: Epidemiologists have not made their final decision on this issue yet, but the idea is, of course, to carry out inspections in the country of departure, so that people already on the plane feel safe that other passengers have been tested for coronavirus. After all, people need to be able to rest and not constantly wonder on the beach, how high is the rate of reproduction in the country from which the man sitting under the next sun umbrella.”

Question: At the Vienna airport, coronavirus tests that give results within 3 hours are offered at a cost of 190 Euros. A family of four would therefore cost an additional € 1,500 if one calculates another test on the way back and in order to avoid quarantine. Will many be able to afford it or will they want to?

Theoharis: Who says that fast tests costing 10 Euros per person won’t be available in July? I am not sure that this will happen, but in the end, huge resources are being invested to make the tests cheaper and easier to access.

Another question is whether corona tests will be necessary when returning from vacation. Upon entering Greece, it will be necessary to take a negative test, because people come from many countries. But Greece is clearly in a better position to fight the pandemic than most other countries. Our numbers are significantly lower. That is why I do not really share the logic of further controls. But all this must be discussed by the relevant governments.

The Tourism minister reassured that the country is preparing a thorough tourism plan based on epidemiologists’ and health professionals’ advises. The plan will include safety measures for beaches, swimming pools, breakfast areas, bus transfer. He sees little risk that lockdowns could be imposed locally.

“We will do everything we can to minimize these risks and avoid local constraints on social and economic life. We will react very quickly and we will be very careful,” Theoharis said adding that ministry staff will be out during the high season to monitor compliance with the rules and impose sanctions for violations.

“Our country’s reputation as a safe travel destination is at stake. But if the medical professionals advise me that there is no alternative to such a step, of course, we will make decisions that will best serve everyone’s health,” Theoharis stressed.
“Tests hold the key” Theoharis said also to UK daily telegraph.

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  1. ah, so actually they want the tourists to be able to come and go, but not have to bother interacting with us actual citizens lest they risk inconveniences.. goes to show where the priorities are for the monied class in this country. that tourism dollar is worth more than the citizens freedom , ability to make a living, or dignity as a human being.

  2. Der Test am Ankuftsflughafen kommt zu spät! Was macht er dann, wenn er positiv ist???
    Selbstverständlich muss VOR dem Abflug getestet werden!!!!
    Schliesslich kann man Geld nicht essen.

  3. Zarko from Serbia. You will not see my money this year if contine this way. To much restrictions and fear….