ROME – Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio is upset that Greece will put tough conditions on Italian tourists who will be tested for the COVID-19 Coronavirus and put into quarantines of 7-14 days if proving positive.
Greece had barred tourists from the hardest-hit countries including Italy and the United Kingdom who were left off an initial list of 29 countries who had a similarly successful record as Greece in holding down the number of cases and deaths.
But desperately needing tourism to rejuvenate an economy floundering after a long lockdown aimed at preventing the spread of the virus, Greece said it will welcome everyone, which didn't turn out so well when 12 passengers from Qatar tested positive.
The Civil Protection Agency said nine of the passengers who tested positive were Pakistani nationals with residence permits in Greece, two were Greek citizens coming from Australia and one was a Japanese national from a Greek-Japanese family.
Di Maio expressed his discontent in a call to Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, according to a report in Il Messaggero. Italy was the epicenter of the virus in Europe and devastated with deaths and cases.
This restriction will affect Italian tourists arriving from the regions of Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy, Piedmont, Veneto. Di Maio reportedly told Dendias that Greece should avoid any restrictions for Italian tourists.
He is expected to visit Greece June 9 to brief Dendias about the epidemiological situation of his country. “All contagion data will be available to everyone,” he told the paper. “We have always acted responsibly and transparently and we will continue to do so. That is precisely why we expect respect.”
Greece's list of high-risk airports and areas was drawn up by the European Aviation Safety Agency.
Greece will open to international air traffic on June 15 but flights initially can land only at the airport outside Athens and passengers will be tested, those from countries with high rates singled out.