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Greece to welcome Germans, Cypriots, Israelis in first wave of visitors

Greece will allow travellers from around two dozen countries including Germany, Cyprus and Israel to visit from mid-June without having to be quarantined, government officials told international news agency reuters on Wednesday.

“There will be some 20-25 countries whose nationals will be allowed to come,” a government source said, adding that the list would include Cyprus, Israel and countries in central Europe and the Balkans.

The full list would be announced this week.

Tourism accounts for about 20% of the Greek economy and the government sees the sector as a major engine of its recovery from a lockdown that has brought business to a virtual standstill.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has said Germans will be allowed to visit Greece from June 15.

He has also said that international flights to the northern city of Thessaloniki would resume on June 15, sooner than an initial planned date of July 1.

Greece currently allows citizens from all EU countries except Italy, Spain and the Netherlands to fly into Athens but they are then subject to a 14-day confinement.

Visitors from Britain and other non-EU countries are also currently barred from entering Greece.

Italy, Spain and Britain have all seen high rates of infection from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus. Greece has weathered the coronavirus crisis relatively well, with just 2,892 confirmed cases and 173 deaths.

Another government source said health experts were discussing whether travellers would need to have been tested for COVID-19 before visiting Greece and whether insurance coverage for such infections should be recommended, reuters reports.

The government has said it plans to restore international flights to Greece’s islands from July 1 but will refuse entry to citizens from countries with high infection rates until July 15.

PS What is odd, is that the pre-travel COVID-19 testing was off the table since last week and according to the Tourism Minister.

Instead of chewing again and again the same information, creating confusion among travelers and tourism professionals in Greece, and undermine its own tourist industry the government should finally publish these “white – black countries lists,” because soon all potential tourists might book for else where in the Mediterranean, to countries that they have already published the countries lists, and fixed some legal issues like hotels responsibilities concerning confirmed cases.

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