Greece on Monday lifted quarantine restrictions for visitors not infected with coronavirus from several countries, such as Russia and Australia, raising exceptions ahead of the official opening for tourists on May 15, the Ministry of Transport announced on Sunday, Romanian news portal Ziare reports.
The change, which comes as Greece has passed the 10,000-death mark due to Covid-19, follows a move this month to lift restrictions on visitors from EU countries, the United States and the United Kingdom, among other countries.
Visitors from these countries are permitted to go to Greece without spending a week in quarantine as long as they are vaccinated or give negative results for coronavirus. In addition to Australia and Russia, Greece will also lift restrictions on visitors from New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, Rwanda, and Singapore, the ministry said in a statement.
Visitors from Serbia, Israel and the United Arab Emirates will also be exempt from the quarantine requirement from Monday.
Greece, which emerged from the first wave of the pandemic last year in much better shape than many other European countries, has been hit hard in recent months, with more patients putting pressure on hospitals in many areas.
However, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said last week that the pandemic was showing signs of stabilization and confirmed plans to open the tourism sector vital to the country’s economy on May 15.
Despite a difficult start to vaccinations in the European Union, the Greek government says it is better prepared for the summer than last year due to large-scale tests, quarantine hotels and vaccination actions on small islands and among tourism workers.
Authorities reported 1,400 new cases and 57 deaths caused by Covid-19 on Sunday.
The pandemic caused a total of 333,129 infections in Greece and 10,007 deaths.
Title image: The Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens, icon of classical Greece. (source: Wikimedia Commons)