Please don’t put Greece on the orange list anymore, urges tourism minister

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Greece’s Tourism Minister pleaded with the UK not to put the country on the Amber List plus for travel, insisting that “Greece is a safe country” for tourists.

Holidaymakers are increasingly concerned that quarantine rules will return even for fully vaccinated travelers in the country following a sharp rise in infections.

Nearly 2,700 Covid infections were reported across Greece last week, marking an almost seven-fold increase in the past three weeks.

However, the 14-day case rate per 100,000 nationwide currently stands at 167 – still well below the UK case rate of 440.

Speaking to Sky News, Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said: “We should stay on the Amber List. We certainly hope the data supports our point of view.

“Greece is a safe country … Our campaign and vaccination program continues unabated,” he added, noting that “nearly 60% of the adult population has been vaccinated”.

The Greek economy is heavily dependent on tourism, with around 20 percent of GDP coming from this sector.

Tourist numbers rebounded slightly in June after falling sharply last year, with a flurry of holidaymakers from Germany, France and Poland pushing arrivals up by around 50% last month.

But new restrictions on the party island of Mykonos have raised fears that this summer will prove to be another difficult season for the country.

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Music was banned from restaurants and bars on the Greek Party Island last week, where a nighttime curfew was also put in place.

Greece’s Civil Protection Ministry said the 24-hour music ban also included shops, cafes and beach bars.

The ministry said measures had been introduced to “quickly control and contain the spread of the virus,” as infections on the mainland continue to spread across the country’s islands during the peak summer season.

Greece is currently on the UK’s orange list, which means those who have received both doses of the vaccine and those under the age of 18 no longer have to self-quarantine when they return to Britain.

A move to the Amber List Plus would likely result in a reversion to the 10-day quarantine rule for all arrivals to the UK, regardless of their vaccination status.

It follows the government’s decision on Friday to reinstate quarantine rules for all those returning from France, following the growing number of cases of the beta variant, first discovered in South Africa.

Spain is also feared to follow, in a move that could throw thousands of other summer vacation plans into chaos.

According to the Gisaid Research Center, 9.3% of coronavirus cases in Spain in the past month were of the beta variant, compared to 3.7% in France.


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