The country will lift quarantine measures for arrivals in a bid to boost its tourism sector ahead of a full opening on May 14.
An unnamed official told Reuters that people from the European Union, the United States, Britain, Serbia, Israel and the United Arab Emirates will be allowed to travel to Greece.
“They are baby steps before the country opens as planned for tourists on 14 May,” a senior tourism ministry official said. “Nine airports will open at the same time that the restriction is lifted.”
Passengers from those countries will not be quarantined, as long as they prove that they have received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine or show a negative PCR test carried out 72 hours prior to their arrival, the official said, adding the tourists would be subject to domestic lockdown restrictions.
Under current rules, all foreigners arriving in Greece should test negative and quarantine for seven days. For passengers from Britain and the United Arab Emirates, a second mandatory test is also required upon their arrival.
It is currently illegal in England to go on on an overseas holiday. However this could be lifted on May 17, when the Government plans to introduce a “traffic light system” to govern testing and quarantine requirements for different countries.
Greece has handled the pandemic well compared to the struggles of most countries in the EU with a reported a total of 301,103 cases and 9,054 deaths so far. But a resurgence in Covid-19 infections has forced the country to impose lockdown restrictions since November.
Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, warned that it was still too early to lift curbs on movement. “The goal is to arrive at a safe [Orthodox] Easter and an even freer summer,” he told his parliamentary group. “The threat continues to remain, and for that reason, as we have shown, we are moving forward step by step once, every week, we have evaluated the epidemiological data with experts.”
More than 20 per cent of the country’s GDP is derived from tourism, on which one in five jobs depend.
This week, in an experiment devised by travel industry experts, 189 Dutch tourists flew to Rhodes, trading lockdown in the Netherlands for eight days of voluntary confinement in a luxury beach resort.
The holidaymakers are barred from leaving their hotel or even stepping on to the beach it overlooks. The “pilot programme is seen as a test run for “safe” holidays being arranged in the age of Covid-19.