Greece imposes severe restrictions on travel from southern Africa


Greece stopped short of imposing a ban on air travel from southern African countries over a new Covid-19 variant, choosing instead to introduce severe restrictions for nine of them.

The Health ministry announced that only essential travel will be allowed from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Eswatini, Zambia and Malawi, while travellers will need to procure a special permit from the local Greek diplomatic mission.

Those granted a permit will have to undergo a PCR tests 72 hours before travel and submit to a rapid antigen test upon arrival. After that, they will have to quarantine in a designated hotel for 10 days, and do a second rapid test at the end of that period.

These restrictions will come into effect as of 6 a.m. Saturday.

Greece does not have direct flights with any of the aforementioned countries. 

Earlier, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen urged member-states to suspend “all air travel” with southern African countries until details of the new variant are more clear.