Hardalias: Greece Reopening to Tourism Gradually and Cautiously


Civil Protection Deputy Minister for Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Panagiotis Stolis)

ATHENS - The plan to allow direct flights from abroad as of July 1 should not be cause for public concern, Civil Protection Deputy Minister for Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias said on Thursday, as the plan is to reopen Greece to tourism gradually and cautiously after the global pandemic breakout.

At a briefing on coronavirus measures and developments along with Health Ministry task force spokesman Sotiris Tsiodras, Hardalias said several factors would be considered, including what was happening in other countries and which countries would be exempted based on their epidemiological features.

"Random sampling and controls will be thorough and strict wherever necessary, in order to keep the general population safe," he noted.

Currently, flights are limited to the Athens International Airport, where travellers submit to coronavirus tests and have to follow quarantine protocols. "Absolute numbers (of incoming flights) show a reduction and near-disappearance of incoming infection cases," Hardalias said.

Between May 13 and 20, for example, 21 flights arrived in Athens with 2,236 passengers, of whom only 1 was found to be positive. In the last 4 days, 3 flights from Germany have arrived with 548 passengers, several as transit travellers through countries with heavy epidemiological loads, but all tests were negative.

He reiterated the reopening of travel to and from the Greek islands and the opening of restaurants is taking place on Monday, May 25. The same day, the government will announce whether the primary schools, kindergartens and nursery stations would open on June 1 or not.

Additionally, the government will reopen day centers for people with disabilities, including art activity centers for children with disabilities, this coming week.

All other art activity centers will be included in the decision related to primary schools.