ATHENS -- Greece will fully open all its airports to flights from abroad on July 1, Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis announced on Friday at a joint press conference with Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias on updated tourist-season measures that was also attended by government spokesman Stelios Petsas.
The announcements include the following:
- All Greek airports will cater to flights from abroad as of July 1.
- Restrictions for flights from Italy, the Netherlands and Spain will be lifted as of June 15 (when the first flights from abroad will be allowed, but only for the Athens and Thessaloniki International Airports).
- Restrictions for arrivals of yachts from abroad are still maintained, except for yachts with crew carrying no passengers. All sailings from other countries will fully open on July 1.
- Along with the opening of all airports to foreign flights, Theoharis said, 7 overland border points will also open fully on July 1.
"Our plan is comprehensive, and we have already carried out emergency drills," the minister said. He added that random sampling will take place at airports for the novel coronavirus, and visitors will be obliged to wait for test results at a designated hotel. The government has imposed a 7-day stay at a hotel for negative results and a 14-day one for positive ones. Both mobile and floating units at airports and islands, respectively, will be collecting test samples. Islands will be able to process results fast, thanks to local analyst machines to be placed on islands.
Kikilias, on his part, said that "446 simple beds and 19 intensive care units beds for COVID-19 have been reserved on islands," expandable to 674 and 79, respectively, if need be. "All health centers and facilities on the islands are prepared and will be in operation 24hrs daily," the minister said, while more doctors were appointed on islands and trained by emergency drills.
NGOs will also work on a voluntary basis with island staff and floating units. "We also have 11 negative-pressure capsules for air transport, and we will acquire more," Kikilias said, referring to the containment units for the transport of infected people to mainland hospitals, whenever there is such a need. He also hinted that all available ships in service would be called to help out if need be in any patient transfers.
The plan presented by the Health minister and ministries' contributions to ensuring a safe summer is had by all during the pandemic "reminds us all of the need to continue exhibiting individual responsibility and collective maturity," the government spokesman said. "Our first priority is safety for residents and visitors alike," he underlined.