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“Greece’s shielding towards Delta variant is its best advertisement,” says Tourism Minister

“Greece’ shielding towards the Delta variant will be its best advertisement,” said Tourism Minister -and wannabe Epidemiologist, Virologist and Vaccination-scientist – Haris Theoharis and added that this summer will be better for the Greek tourism than last year.

Speaking to Greek website tourismtoday, Theoharis praised “the coordinated plan of the Greek government for the shielding of the health of both Greek citizens and tourists, in view of the period of high demand, as well as the safety valves that have been activated.”

“As we did not hesitate to take the necessary measures, no matter how hard they were, so we will do, whenever this is imposed by the developments,” he pointed out, among others.

He stressed that the shielding of Greece against the “Delta” variant will become its best advertisement.

He added that “vaccination is the most critical factor for tourism internationally, not only in Greece. We must understand that it depends on the acceleration of the vaccination campaign whether we will return to normalcy or whether we will remain under siege of the pandemic, under the constant threat of a mutation, a next wave, etc.”

Can the spread of the “Delta” mutation affect the evolution of the tourist season, as we enter the period of high tourist demand?, Theoharis was asked.

He replied:

“So far, Greece is proving that it manages the risk of spreading the “Delta” variant with much greater success than other European countries. While in our country the cases are infinitesimal, in France, for example, 20% of the cases are related to this mutation and in Portugal 90%.

There are two axes of protection of the tourism industry from this new threat, the meticulous observance of the health protocols and the progress of the vaccination campaign. If we continue with the consistency and seriousness that we showed last summer, the shielding of Greece against the “Delta” mutation will become its best advertisement.”

Do you plan to take specific measures so that the balance is maintained and both the health of Greek citizens and the health of tourists are not endangered?

My answer to your question, as Minister of Tourism, is the answer of the Greek government and the Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis: Health above all. As we did not hesitate to take the necessary measures, no matter how hard they were, so we will do, whenever this is imposed by developments. Of course, the experts and the Committee of Infectious Diseases always have the first say, whose instructions we strictly follow.

As far as tourists from abroad are concerned, the same measures that we apply to Greek citizens apply to them as well. Greece is a country of the European Union and treats its guests on an equal footing with anyone else.

The same certificates that they display to pass through the entrance gates, foreign tourists will be able to use them for their travels domestically. At the same time, we monitor the data daily and we are ready for any eventuality.

Full interview in Greek here in tourismtoday.

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  1. So, will Brits still be able to come, even with 200/100k cases a day?

  2. Why is he advocating vaccinated people coming with no need to quarantine or test? Vaccinated people still carry the infection. Portugal has high Delta rates after the football when people travelled from the UK. Why not open up mass centers where people can just turn up and be vaccinated? Some friends waited three months for their AMKA.

    • Fi, you state “Vaccinated people still carry the infection”. This is highly inaccurate. A minority of fully vaccinated people, i.e. 2 doses plus 14 to 21 days, can still pass on the virus but transmissibility is greatly reduced. It is easy to get figures on the percentage of vaccinated people who become ill but difficult to get accurate information on how many pass on the virus, hence the use of the former to measure efficacy. The reason the delta variant is spreading so rapidly is because not enough people are vaccinated yet to counter its higher transmissibility, even in the UK.

      • My experience from some Asian countries: Need to produce negative PCR test (taken max 2 days before arrival). On entrance every one has to take a covid test by local testing team in organised fashion keeping appropriate distances (compare with vaccination centres in Greece where you have 5 people per square meter). If positive you go to hospital in isolated unit. If negative you go in quarantine for 14-21 (depending on the country) in dedicated hotels and you can’t leave your room – they bring you food. After the quarantine you roam freely to your work (I don’t think anyone wants to go on holiday with 21 days of quarantine). Every one wears masks, they check the temperature in every building or shop you go. All shops and activities are open. Cases are extremely low (0-10). What we see now in Greece and in Europe is a bit skewed due to summer. We will know better in November. Last year the results of the summer tourism without checks had a negative impact on the cases during the winter and the economy. You make some money in the summer from tourism and it cost you triple from the impact of the virus in the winter. Asia is showing the way of how it should be tackled and we ignore it believing that a vaccination will resolve everything. It will help but all e it cannot resolve the problem. Fyi: the penetration of vaccines in Asia is very low.

        • If you want to wear face masks, face quarantine, and have lockdowns for the rest of your life, then the Asian model is the one to follow.

          As far as I am concerned, the Novel Coronavirus is far less of a problem than global warming — which most Asian countries are doing precisely NOTHING to ameliorate. Most are contributing massively to air and land pollution, carbon footprints, and general damage to the environment.

        • Last summer we didn’t have the vaccine, and tourists also were not vaccinated as this year. I think there is reason to believe and hope that this winter will not be as bad as last November.

    • Fi, I agree- test everyone coming into the country. as an example Andrew Marr from the bbc openly said on his show last week he is double vaccinated and caught ‘a bit of Covid’ at the G7 in Cornwall, was symptomatic and most likely spreading to others. Isn’t it better to do a rapid test for peace of mind?