ATHENS — While travelers from the United Kingdom were included among those that Greece would allow to enter during the COVID-19 pandemic – with vaccinations or negative tests – the British government won’t let them come.
Following the lead of the United States, which issued a travel advisory that Greece isn’t yet safe enough, Greece hasn’t been put on the UK’s Green List of countries to which travel will be allowed.
But Brits can’t go anywhere until May 15, locked in their own country which has picked up vaccinations after being hard hit when Prime Minister Boris Johnson refused to issue tougher health measures.
When they are allowed to travel, they can go only to Gibraltar and Malta but not Spain either, the British newspaper The Sun reported, although even going to Gibraltar or Malta means they would have to be tested twice on return.
Spain and Greece will likely have to wait until a review in June, the report added, citing sources. Those two countries are likely to be on the “amber list,” meaning people can visit but will have to quarantine for 10 days when they return to the UK, the newspaper also said.
France could however be approved for travel before the school summer holidays in July, the report added, with the UK dead to soon announce a list of Green countries to which travel is deemed safe enough to go yet.
The move is a blow to Greece which has been picking up its slow-moving vaccination program that was hindered by reliance on a cumbersome European Union distribution system that failed.
Travelers from the UK were already technically allowed to come, along with those from the EU, US, Serbia, United Arab Emirates and a handful of select countries if they can show vaccinations or negative tests.
Greece will open wider to tourists on May 15 in a bid to kick start the country’s biggest revenue engine which brings in as much as 18-20 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 167.1 billion euros ($200.3 billion.)