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Politics

Mitsotakis Defends Greece’s Lenient Entry Policies for Tourists

ATHENS – Greek Premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis has retorted against criticism from Germany and France over allowing tourists to enter Greece no matter what kind of vaccine they've taken, including from countries where the Delta variant is dominant.

“My personal assessment – which I believe is shared by the majority of the European Council – is that there is no need to impose additional restrictions on travel from countries where this mutation already exists and its spread is more pronounced,” he told journalists at a meeting of European Union leaders.

“There is an answer to the question of variants – and in particular the Delta variants – and that is to speed up the vaccination process,” he said, reported Kathimerini.

He said the Delta will be the dominant strain across the EU by the end of August and that the answer is vaccines, not changing entry policies, with Greece anxious to lure more to help an economy battered by lockdowns.

Greece is allowing tourists with the Russian Sputnik V vaccine and a Chinese version that were far less effective than others, leading German Chancellor to say the Russian version was dubious.

Mitsotakis said accounts of the reduced efficacy of the Sputnik V were “journalistic exaggerations,” contradicting scientific evidence he said should be used in convincing people to take vaccines available in Greece.

“There is by no means a majority in the European Council that wants to impose additional restrictions in view of the summer to deal with the Delta variant neither in third countries, nor within the Union,” he also said.

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