Greece lifts Covid quarantine rules for travellers from EU, others

Greece has lifted the self-quarantine requirement for travellers arriving in the country from the European Union (EU), the UK, the US, the United Arab Emirates, Serbia and Israel, Greece’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said on Monday.

The exemption also applies to travelers from four non-EU member states in the so-called Schengen zone: Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Xinhua news agency reported.

Until now, all travelers arriving in Greece from abroad had been obliged to present a negative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) coronavirus test taken up to 72 hours before arrival and had to self-quarantine at home or at the place listed on the Passenger Locator Form for seven days, the Greek national news agency AMNA noted.

Under the new rules, which entered into force on Monday, all travelers arriving from the countries listed above must either have a certificate in English issued by the relevant authority in their country of departure that they had completed vaccination at least 14 days before arrival or had a negative result in a PCR test performed within 72 hours of their arrival.

Greece is preparing to reopen the country to tourism on May 14, the government had announced earlier this spring.

Ahead of the official restart, under a pilot scheme, Greece has started welcoming in recent weeks small groups of tourists, who still had to observe the lockdown restrictions.

Since November 7, 2020, Greece has been in a nationwide lockdown, which it now prepares to gradually ease. However, the night-time curfew is still in force, and museums, theaters, restaurants and cafes remain closed. The use of face masks is mandatory both indoors and outdoors.

Until April 26, most restrictions on domestic and foreign flights remain in force. Only essential travel (for health or professional reasons, reunion of families and return to primary residence) is permitted, according to the CAA’s e-mailed press statement.

On Monday, Greece’s National Public Health Organization (EODY) registered 1,607 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, bringing to 316,879 the number of confirmed infections since the start of the pandemic. Of the cases confirmed in the past seven days, 59 were related to travel from abroad, according to the EODY.

The past 24 hours saw 78 COVID-19-related deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 9,540. Currently, a record 847 patients are intubated across the country.

To date, about 2.5 million vaccine doses have been administered, with over 770,000 people having received both doses, according to the latest official figures released by Greek authorities on Monday.