More than 100 new cases of coronavirus have been imported to Greece since it started allowing foreign tourists from the start of this month.
Fears of a surge of infections are mounting as Brits are set to be allowed back into the country from July 15. Flights from the UK had been banned for longer as officials thought its measures to control the spread of Covid-19 weren’t efficient enough.
Greece has managed to keep infections generally low, with the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic hitting 3,622 with just 193 fatalities. But authorities have said 103 of 183 confirmed cases from July 1-7 came from overseas visitors.
Yesterday the Greek Health ministry reported 33 new cases, 24 of whom were foreign tourists, who are now under quarantine fro two weeks. It comes as restrictions are eased in the Mediterranean country, with people in shopping centres no longer being required to wear a mask and a six-person limit per restaurant table being brought to an end.
Government spokesperson Stelios Petsas told local media: ‘We knew from the beginning that when we gradually opened the country’s gates to the world, we would have imported incidents.’
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He said what really matters the most is to quickly locate and isolate the incidents in order to prevent the spread of the virus. Health workers have ramped up testing at the Greek border with Bulgaria after 36 people tested positive on Monday at the crossing point used by Balkan tourists.
Despite Greece’s ban on UK flights, Boris Johnson’s father Stanley, 79, appeared to find away around the rule by changing flights at the Bulgarian capital Sofia.
He insists this did not go against the Foreign Office’s advice against all non-essential foreign travel as he had to ‘Covid-proof’ his property for the upcoming lettings season.
On Monday Greece closed its border with Serbia until at least July 15 after the neighbouring country was hit by a surge of 302 infections in just 24 hours.
Coronavirus spikes also been reported in Spain this month, with two regions being forced to go back into lockdown.
On Sunday entry into and out of the coastal district of La Marina, in the north-western region of Galicia was banned for five days after an outbreak affecting 106 people.
Before that more than 200,000 residents in Segrià, including the city of Lleida in the west of Catalonia, were not allowed to leave the region unless they are essential workers, after a surge of 60 coronavirus cases in 24 hours.
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