Greece plans to lift quarantine restrictions on travelers from the UK, the European Union and four other countries who have been vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19 starting next week, a senior government official said on Wednesday.
Last month, the country lifted a week-long quarantine rule for vaccinated Israeli travelers who tested negative.
However, the British will not be able to benefit from the easing until May 17, if restrictions on international travel are to be lifted according to the government’s timetable.
Greece plans to lift quarantine restrictions for travelers from the European Union and five other countries that have been vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19 starting next week
Greece, which emerged from a decades-long financial crisis before the pandemic last year, has announced that it will open its tourism sector, a key growth driver for its economy, from mid-May.
“We will gradually lift the restrictions early next week before it opens on May 14,” a senior tourist ministry official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The official said citizens from the European Union, the United States, Britain, Serbia, Israel and the United Arab Emirates are allowed to travel to Corfu via the airports of Athens, Thessaloniki, Heraklion, Chania, Rhodes, Kos, Mykonos, Santorini and Greece and two border crossings.
Passengers from these countries will not be quarantined as long as they can show they have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine or have a negative PCR test 72 hours prior to arrival.
Tourists will continue to be subject to domestic lockdown restrictions as part of this new relaxation, the official added.
The British will not be able to take advantage of the easing until May 17, when restrictions on international travel are to be lifted according to the government’s timetable
Passengers from exempted countries will not be quarantined as long as they can show they have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine or have a negative PCR test 72 hours prior to arrival
According to current regulations, all foreigners coming to Greece should be negative and quarantined for seven days.
For UK and UAE passengers, a second mandatory test is required upon arrival.
The announcement comes because Brussels has announced that vaccination records or digital green certificates will be introduced across the EU by June 21.
EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders told MPs on Tuesday that vaccination attempts should be initiated in all countries in the bloc between now and early June.
He said: “The Commission is working very hard to ensure a high vaccination rate among the European population in order to prevent discrimination against people who have not yet been vaccinated.”
“The proposal not only regulates the verification and acceptance of an interoperable vaccination certificate by the insurance company, but also a test certificate and a certificate for a person who has recovered from COVID-19.”
The European Commission in Brussels has announced that vaccination certificates or digital green certificates will be introduced across the EU by June 21
The European Commission wanted the vaccination record system to be fully operational by the end of May to help states that rely on tourism, such as Greece and Spain, recover from the pandemic.
It appears that the target has now been scrapped in favor of the later date.
Vaccination passport proposals have often been criticized for their potential to discriminate against people who cannot or do not want to be vaccinated.
The UK is expected to roll out pilot projects later this month.
Greece has fared better than other EU countries in containing the first wave of pandemics, but a resurgence in COVID-19 infections has forced the country to impose lockdown restrictions since November.
Greece has so far reported a total of 301,103 cases and 9,054 deaths.