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No COVID Documents: Greece Bars 2500 From Island Ferries

Αssociated Press

People wearing a face masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus wait to board a ferry in the port of Piraeus, near Athens, on Friday, Aug. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Trying to halt an unexpected spread of COVID-19 on islands, Greek Coast Guard officials prevented some 2500 people from getting on ferries to get there because they didn't have proof of being vaccinated or free of the Coronavirus.

While Greece is eager to get people to the islands, Shipping Minister Giannis Plakiotakis said those without documentation wouldn't be allowed although the New Democracy government isn't requiring tourism worker to be vaccinated.

Public health safety checks that began July 13 include stopping everyone from getting on board ferries until they show their documents, which can include a negative PCR test or proof they have recovered from the virus.

Plakiotakis admitted that before the Coast Guard took over from the port authorities, checks were “inadequate,” he told Open TV, an indication that there was a failure to make sure the conditions were being followed.

“This is why the Coast Guard took over the checks before embarkation,” he said, although it's too late for some islands like Mykonos where a curfew was put in place and music banned to keep people from congregating.

Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias warned earlier that the government is “one step” before imposing restrictions on Santorini, Paros, Ios and Rethymno and Iraklio in Crete.

He didn't explain why tourism workers aren't being required to be vaccinated as – it tourists are – the workers might be a prime source of spreading the virus.

As of July 16, unvaccinated travelers returning to mainland Greece will have to present a negative self-test or a rapid test in order to board a ferry although it was unclear if that would be necessary if they have a vaccination certificate.