Thousands of cars from Albania were lined up at the Kakavia border on Sunday, August 16 after the Greek government relaxed restrictions on the amount eligible to enter the nation.
According to the recent decision, the amount of people able to pass through the border crossing at Kakavia has now reached 750 as well as 300 in Krystallopigi, causing 12 mile car lines forming at the border gates on Sunday, according to authorities.
Those trying to re-enter the country had gone to Albania for the summer, now rushing back to Greece over fears of having to deal with tighter border controls in response to Covid-19.
News Agency Agence France-Presse, reported that police estimated a total of 4,000 cars lined up on Sunday, filled with people who live and work in Greece, mainly in agriculture.
As conditions continued to deteriorate at the Kakavia border crossing, the Albanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs cooperated with the Greek Ministries and decided that custom offices would operate normally until 11:00 pm. in order to serve as many citizens as possible.
An Albanian police source told AFP that, “Greek health teams are working with a reduced number of staff,” while also reporting how some cars had been in line for three days.
As Greek police officers hand out water to people waiting in intense heat, Albania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement explaining how Greek authorities are trying to alleviate the situation by increasing the number of tests from 200 to 300 per hour.
Incoming travelers are also required to submit a negative molecular control test upon arriving at the land border as part of a new measure issued by the Greek government on Monday, August 17. The test must have been done up to 72 hours before entering.
This mandate also applies to Greek citizens and those having residence permits, with officials noting that testing must be conducted in the country of origin, not in Greece.
Albanian President Ilir Meta, expressed his concern about the situation as the rate of infection has continued to rise in Albania, worrying that those returning to Greece, including tourists, could potentially bring Covid-19 with them and cause further cases.
A seven-day mandatory quarantine will be issued to those who are entering from Albania.