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Greece concerned about “imported” cases as borders open on July 1

All eyes are on July 1, the day when Greece will begin to receive international arrivals at all its airports and ports. The state plan for sampling and health protocols on the islands is ready, but – as authorities  admit – “we are moving into unknown waters.” Coronavirus cases have re-surged in several countries. Confirmed ‘imported cases are one-digit since the country opened on June 15. Citizens fear of an “explosion of new cases” and the country’s health experts are ringing the “alarm bell.’

What is caus of concern in Greece is that the new coronavirus cases in June do not concentrate in northern Greece but cases are beginning to appear also on the islands, thus “testing” the local health structures and the effectiveness of the government’s plan.

National Health Organization EODY announced on Saturday 23 new confirmed cases with 8 of them to have been located on flights’ passengers. Four imported cases have been located on the island of Syros that had been covid-free during the outbreak in Greece.

According to local information, the cases refer to a couple of French tourists and two foreign workers.

In the week June 20-27, a total of 132 new cases have been confirmed, with 1/3 to be “imported”. That it that they were detected at the two airports currently in operation in Athens and Thessaloniki and at the Promachonas border-crossing with Bulgaria.

Experts concerned

According to news website, Professor of Virology Giorgos Sourvinos has expressed concern about the imported cases since opening the borders to some countries on June 15. Pointing out that the country has not yet fully opened its borders, he said that “on July 1 we will have the opening from many different countries and in many different parts of Greece.”

“What is of concern for us is that we have to know the source of the infections. There are mechanisms that can give us information about the origin and make a first check at the entrance gates that will give us an idea of ​​the extent of the possible incoming cases that will be very important for the course of tourism.

“There is concern” about a possible new outbreak of coronavirus pandemic in several countries, said Professor for Infectious Diseases at the Medical School and member of the experts committee of the Health Ministry, Gkikas Mayiorkinis.

“We are seeing a second wave in the Balkans. There is a concern in Promachonas, because they come from many countries. It is the only entrance gate at the moment, by land. We don’t know where they come from, they don’t just come from Bulgaria, “he added.

All ready for July 1

Head of Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias has been inspecting airports on the Ionian islands and Crete in the last few days and seems content with the preparations and measures.

“The reception measures of the travelers, all the protocols have been completed, simulation exercises will run at all airports on Monday and Tuesday . Samples will be taken deliberately, through a process with a scientific background, so from the moment someone enters, we will know that the test should be done on the specific person,” Hardalias said.

The next big stage is the way we will deal with the new cases, Hardalias said adding that the country and its tourist destinations are full prepared.

July 1 Greece opens all regional airport on the mainland and the islands for international flights. it also opens its ports for international arrivals, meaning that tourists will start arriving from Italy as well.

On Saturday, the Civil Aviation Authority issued a notice according to which all passengers on international flights will have to fill a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) 48 hours prior to their check-in.

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  1. I, and alot of people that I have talked to, feel that it is too early to let in people from countries where new cases are occuring daily, in particular the UK who seem to ignore all guidance, and, if let into Greece and her islands will not follow guidelines as they are already ignoring them in their own country. Greece has done so well to date and is a good example to the rest of the world, I hope she continues to be strong and make decisions to benefit the health and safety of all who live here. I live on Crete, I am British, but, I am glad that I am here and not in UK

    • If I was Greece I wouldn’t be taking guests from the UK
      During the last week we have seen disgusting scenes both in Liverpool and Bournemouth to name just two.
      A lot of people have ignored the rules from day one which is one of the reasons we have decided to give our annual Greece holiday a miss this year or until things have calmed down.
      We both love Greece and will miss it so much but safety and health are the most important things in life
      Fingers crossed we will be able to return to support your economy.

    • Dear Lydia

      Your concerns are well-founded.

      I live in a coastal village next to the seaside in the UK and I have been utterly disgusted by the behaviour of many ‘day trippers’ during our recent heatwave.

      Admittedly not all visitors have acted badly some indeed have shown common sense whereas others haven’t and those have exhibited total complete non-compliance with social distancing rules.

      We have visitors urinating and defecating on the beach and surroundings areas. all because there’s a queue for the public toilets.

      Then there’s the litter problem where drink cans, fish and chip boxes and nappies which seem to have become incredibly heavy to carry to litter bins and must be dumped any-which-way on the ground.

      I’ve never been to Crete, I hear it’s a lovely place where I’d love to teach English one day.

      I do hope that any UK visitors to Crete behave way better than the one’s who visited my area and yet I fear they will not.

      So perhaps you can get a ‘cattle prod’ and if you see anyone acting inappropriately you can zap them. I’m joking or am I – your choice…..

    • i totally agree with you lydia. i live on lesvos and i am terrified of the possible consiquence of tourism

    • I totally agree with you Lydia. I think noone should cross any border worldwide unless they have a blood test first. The tourists will spread the virus really fast as they move around. They are on holiday and want to have fun and will drink a lot, most probably. It’s a recipe for disaster. Greece has done so magnificently well and it was a tough lockdown. If everyone had a blood test before entering Greece we could all relax and not worry. But now? I am very, very concerned and think Greece is making a grave mistake now. It’s very simple : pandemics spread by people moving from one area to another. It’s not rocket science! The virus doesn’t care about questionnaires, borders, nationality or economics – it just needs to spread. People are rebelling over lockdown measures with their newfound freedom and so they stop listening to social distancing guidelines and we see this in several countries. I just pray things will not get as bad as I fear in Greece.