Greek health authorities are on alert and highly concerned about the increase of confirmed coronavirus cases among tourists, especially on the islands. A total of ten tourists, nine foreign nationals and one Greek, have been found positive to Covid-19 and are on the islands of Thassos, Naxos, Evia and Corfu. It looks as if the majority of the imported cases are from neighboring Balkan countries.
According to local authorities of Thassos, four foreign tourists have been tested positive. They are all asymptomatic and have been transferred to a “quarantine hotel.” They underwent tests upon their arrival in Greece at the Promachonas border-crossing with Bulgaria. Three of them are Serbs and one is a Bulgarian national.
“We are going through a” different” tourist season. The arrival of tourists on the island of Thassos, makes it imperative to observe all the measures of individual protection and the dedicated implementation of health protocols. We deal with each and every case with calmness and responsibility “, said the mayor of Thassos, Eleftherios Kyriakidis.
Two tourists to Paggaio Municipality by Kavala were tested positive. According to local authorities, they had come over the weekend and returned to their country.
The first case has been reported on the island of Naxos. Infected is a Greek doctor who flew to Athens international airport from UK via Serbia with his minor daughter, four days ago. According to local media, the first test conducted at Athens airport was positive but the second conducted at Naxos hospital turned negative. Father and daughter have been in quarantine hotel since since Tuesday evening.
A tourist from Serbia has been tested positive on the island of Corfu, state broadcaster ERT TV reported on Wednesday morning. The 60-year-old woman is asymptomatic and in self-isolation, report local media.
A couple from Serbia travelled to Aidipsos resort in northern Evia in a group of 20 people. The man developed some symptoms and sought the local health center in Istiaia. They were told to get on a taxi and go to the hospital in Lamia, some 200 km away.
Both were tested positive at the hospital in Lamia, local media report. Health authorities and the Civil Protection are on alert trying to track their contacts. They remain in the hospital, with the wife being asymptomatic.
Greece closed its borders to Serbian citizens and banned direct flights even if with some delay after the outbreak reached new levels in the Balkan country.
Random checks are being conducted at the border-crossing with Bulgaria, an entry point used by Serbs to travel to Greece.
Tested travellers are obliged to self-isolation for 24 to 36 hours until the test results are out.
Imported cases on the rise
Greek health authorities remained concerned on Tuesday, after 17 out of 27 new cases were confirmed to be imported.
A total of 183 confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 had been recorded in Greece from July 1 – when the country opened its gates – until Tuesday, July 7.
More than half of the cases, that is 103 cases or 56%, are reportedly imported.
By the end of June, almost one in four cases (22.5%) were linked to travelers from abroad. Most of the new cases in the last few days concern arrivals via the land border.
Closure of land borders?
Greek health experts describer the spread of coronavirus in the Balkans as “particularly grim” and warn that if the situation continues and the epidemiological curve increases, Greece maybe should take drastic measures and close its land borders.
Speaking to Skai TV on Wednesday morning, Professor Charalambos Gogos stressed that “there is a problem in all the countries of the Balkans.”
If the epidemiological curve increases, we need to think about closing the borders,” he said adding “we must not go so far as to completely close the land borders.”
He said that among the imported cases are also travellers who came to Greece from Albania.