Greece closed its borders to non-EU citizens as of 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in a measure which aims to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country.
“Citizens of non-EU countries will not be allowed to enter our country from 6:00 a.m tomorrow, except for an absolutely necessary condition related exclusively to emergency work or family,” head of Civil Protection and Deputy Minister for Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias said on Tuesday.
Family members of Greek or EU nationals residing in Greece, diplomats, cross-border and healthcare workers, and people transporting goods are exempted from the ban.
The decision was announced hours before European Union leaders decided to seal all its borders in a bid to limit the further spread of the virus.
Those who can still travel to Greece include Greek and EU citizens, but a 14-day quarantine is highly recommended especially for those coming from the UK.
Hardalias especially advised “house isolation” for those coming from the UK. “We consider them as if they have already come in contact with the virus,” he said in a press conference broadcast live on state ERT TV.
Hardalias recommended that those who already have come to Greece from abroad for holidays, “to limit to absolute necessary their movement.”
Those in “voluntary quarantine” can leave the country before that period of 14 days expires.
Greece has already suspended all flights and passenger ferries to Italy. It has also closed the borders with Albania and North Macedonia. Only freight trains and trucks are now allowed through the borders.
The Deputy Minister also announced that private sailing boats are not allowed to enter Greece from abroad.
According to official data on Tuesday, 5 people have died and 387 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Greece since the coronavirus outbreak.