Greece has been a tale of hope this summer when it comes to international tourism. One of the first countries to allow international visitors, Greece will reopen borders to travelers from all countries on June 15. But with this early opening, however, will come risks, and that was evident this week. When a Qatar Airways flight from Doha landed in Athens, all 91 passengers were given COVID tests, and 12 tested positive. Now, all 91 passengers have been placed in quarantine in a government-designated hotel.
Professor Nikalaos Sipsas, an infectious disease expert, told ANT1 TV, “We knew there would be such cases. We’ve seen what can happen this summer. The safest [thing] would be not to open up to tourism but that would mean huge economic destruction. The first thing we have to do is divide countries of origin into safe and unsafe [categories]. That creates certain diplomatic pressure, but for us the first priority is public health.”
Passengers who tested positive must remain in quarantine for 14 days, while the passengers who tested negative can leave the hotel after seven days — pending the results of a second COVID-19 test. Greece will cover the cost of housing foreign visitors who test positive for the virus.
Despite the number of cases on the Qatar Airways flight, Greece still intends to resume all international flights on June 15. Until July 1, visitors coming from an airport listed by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency as high-risk should expect mandatory COVID tests upon arrival, with a positive test resulting in a 14-day quarantine and a negative one leading to a seven-day self-isolation.