NEWS

Next two weeks to be crucial test for tourism

VASSILIS NEDOS

With Greece’s regional airports on Wednesday joining those in Athens and Thessaloniki to welcome more than 200 international flights, health authorities remain on standby to monitor the impact of the next phase of the country’s reopening on its epidemiological profile. 

The next two weeks are expected to be critical in determining the repercussions of the international arrivals. Apart from residents from European Union and Schengen zone countries, Greece is also officially accepting – as of Wednesday – arrivals from 14 non-EU countries, including Australia, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea and China (although the latter will be dependent on a reciprocal agreement with Beijing which is still pending). 

The next review will be on July 15, when it will be decided whether a ban on flights from the United Kingdom and Sweden, where coronavirus infections remain high, will be lifted or further extended. 

As regards land arrivals, currently only Greece’s Promachonas border crossing with Bulgaria is open to tourists. The other crossings – Evzones, Kakavia, Krystallopigi, Nymfaia and Kipoi – are only open for essential travel. 

On Wednesday, of 23 new cases of coronavirus infections announced, 11 were from international travel. Although Greece continues to have done relatively well in curbing the spread of Covid-19 – with 3,432 cases nationwide and 192 deaths to date – recent weeks have seen an upward trend in infections. 

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