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“Tourism not to blame for rise in coronavirus cases,” says Greece’s Tourism Minister

“Neither tourism nor tourist arrivals are to blame for the rise of coronavirus cases in Greece,” Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis said on Wednesday. He indirectly blamed unvaccinated locals for the resurgence saying ‘”we can not allow deniers of science to lead our country into adventures.”

Theoharis said that based on statistics from checks carried out at the country’s borders, the opening for tourism was careful and well planned and did not cause damage.

“The opening of tourism was done very carefully, in the first 10 days of July just 74 out of 105,609 random samples taken at the country’s entry points were positive just 0.07%,” he noted speaking at a digital online conference of Greek hoteliers.

“The rate of positivity at the land borders was 0.01% while that in airports was 0.09%, the minister added.

“Our country does not have a problem with the opening of its borders. The rise in infections is not related to tourism,” Theoharis stressed as hoteliers are concerned about the course of the tourism season given the new restrictions in restaurants and entertainment venues, including indoor spaces for vaccinated citizens only and the ban of dance and standing customers.

The Greek government is determined to reach at least 50% of the tourists’ arrivals record it reached in 2019, and bets on the vaccination of the local population, even though it allows unvaccinated tourists with negative PCR test.

Yet, the country experiences a pandemic resurgence.

Regarding the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant especially on Crete, the official narrative was broadcast by state ERT TV on Wednesday as “it was not tourists who brought it but Greeks who returned from the UK.”

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  1. As they have so much intelligence and data, it would surely be sensible to stop testing tourists arriving in the country and focus their attention on Greeks returning. That should knock Covid on the head once and for all.

  2. 1-10 July 2021 105,609 random samples taken at the country’s entry points. Out of how many total people crossing the borders? Are they isolated at or near the borders? Multiply up 74 of 105K tests in relation to total entrants to get a more realistic number of +ves possibly entering the country.
    More worrying is the number of in country +ve travellers as these will have been circulating, mingling and spreading before they got ill enough to seek help. They may even have passed the border as a “carrier” certified -ve or vaccinated.
    Not to mension those who did not seek help because they were going home soon anyway.

    It should also be remembered that “tourism” is not only foreigners.
    Many Greeks are also tourists or are leaving high case number towns and cities to visit or work the season in prviously low case number regions and islands.
    Case numbers are rising in the regions which first opened up. A time lag between opening and cases rising is normal, about 6 weeks for the spread to “take off”.

    ERT TV on Wednesday “it was not tourists who brought it but Greeks who returned from the UK.” is totally illogial. It is the regions from which the person travels which is relevant, not the nationality of the traveler and ERT should be called out for this ridiculous statement.