GR US

Greece to Open Its Borders to 29 Countries from June 15

Αssociated Press

FILE- Passengers wearing face masks check a screen with the flights at the Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport, in Athens on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS — Greece on Friday listed 29 countries from where it will accept visitors as of June 15 as the Greek government looks to mitigate some of the financial damage from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Greek Tourism Ministry said travelers from the permitted countries will be able to enter Greece on direct flights to Athens and to the northern city of Thessaloniki. The list will be expanded on July 1 to include other countries, the ministry said.

The 29 announced Friday are: Albania, Australia, Austria, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Estonia, Japan, Israel, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lebanon, New Zealand, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, Norway, South Korea, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Finland.

The list of 29 countries was drawn up after a study of the epidemiological profile of the countries of origin of tourists and after taking into account Thursday's announcements of the European Air Safety Agency (EASA), as well as the relevant proposal of the Infectious Disease Committee.

"Sample testing will be carried out on some visitors from the following countries. The existing rules continue to apply for all other countries. The list, which will be expanded starting on July 1, will be announced in time. In any case, the epidemiological monitoring and evaluation will be continuous," the announcement said.

Greece imposed a lockdown early in its coronavirus outbreak, a move credited with limiting infections. The country so far has a total of 175 deaths and just over 2,900 confirmed cases. No cases have been detected on the vast majority of the Greek islands, which are popular vacation spots.

Tourism and related industries make up around 20% of the Greek economy, and the government has been anxious to ensure the tourist season is not lost this year.