NEWS

Spike in Covid cases brings restrictions

STAVROS PAPANTONIOU, PENNY BOULOUTZA

TAGS: Coronavirus, Politics, Tourism

Responding to a spike in coronavirus infections, chiefly at the country’s land border, the government moved on Friday to introduce new restrictions on travelers seeking to enter Greece via the Promachonas border crossing with Bulgaria. 

Shortly after the meeting, health authorities announced 60 new infections, 40 from international travel. The death toll remained at 193 with no new fatalities. 

Following a two-hour meeting with top cabinet officials and health experts chaired by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, government spokesman Stelios Petsas announced that restrictions would be tightened at Promachonas from 6 a.m. on July 14.

Anyone on non-essential travel will be forbidden entry unless they can present a negative Covid-19 test conducted up to 72 hours prior to arrival. That decision followed reports that 29 people had tested positive for coronavirus at the main Greek-Bulgarian border crossing. 

Visitors from outside of Greece are still required to fill in passenger locator forms (PLF) but that can be done 24 hours before their arrival, not 48 hours before as had previously been the case. 

National Transparency Authority officials are to step up inspections on businesses nationwide over the weekend to crack down on violations of health protocols aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.

During the emergency talks at Maximos Mansion on Friday, Mitsotakis stressed that “no complacency can be permitted,” adding that “the primary concern when opening up the country is the safety of both visitors and residents of tourist destinations.”

According to sources, officials even considered closing the Promachonas land border though finally decided that such a move would be too much of a blow for tourism professionals.

However, Kathimerini understands that the option has not been ruled out and will be reconsidered in the next two weeks if infections continue to rise. 

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