Greece on Edge as Covid-19-Untested Tourists Arrive on Monday



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As Greece gets ready to welcome tourists on Monday, a poll published on Thursday finds that the overwhelming majority of Greeks would like tourists arriving in the country to undergo Covid-19 testing.

In a survey conducted by ALCO for the channel Open TV, 89 percent of respondents said that tourists should undergo testing. Just eight percent said they were against testing and three percent responded “don’t know/no answer.”

According to the poll, Greeks are nervous over their government’s decision to allow hundreds of thousands of travelers from Europe and further afield to arrive into the country without facing compulsory Covid-19 testing and quarantine. Instead there will be sample testing at the airports in Athens and Thessaloniki, where the first tourists will land on June 15.

Hundreds of thousands of others landing from high-risk areas, including many cities in the US and the UK, will face compulsory Covid-19 testing; it all depends in which city their flight  originated.

According to the same poll, the majority of respondents said also that they believe that “many governments lift restriction measures earlier than they should, putting the economy ahead of health.”

Almost 75 percent of respondents said that they agreed with the above question, 15 percent said that that was not the case, and 10 percent responded “don’t know/no answer.”

Greek Government spokesman Stelios Petsas said on Thursday that Greek authorities are preparing to be ready for possible Covid-19 cases “entering” the country once tourism opens.

“Greece will focus its attention on the possibility of cases occurring on a local level, whether they concern an island or a prefecture,” he said. He then added that the authorities will be  increasing testing everywhere and also taking concrete actions to organize the country’s health system in view of increased needs on a regional level.

Recently, Manolis Dermitzakis, a renowned genetics professor at the University of Geneva Medical School, warned that it is inevitable that between 6,000 – 10,000 asymptomatic travelers infected with Covid-19 will arrive in Greece during the tourist season.

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