Harry Theoharis, the Tourism Minister of Greece, described the decision taken by the government of Great Britain to include seven of the most popular Greek islands on a new quarantine list as “very unfortunate.”
According to the ruling, all those returning to Great Britain will be obliged to quarantine fora a total of fourteen days upon their arrival back home.
In an interview with SKAI News, Theoharis protested that the ruling was “mot warranted by the headline data.” Great Britain had experienced soaring numbers of cases of Covid-19 back in the Spring, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson decided to adopt a “herd immunity” approach to limit the spread of the virus.
The UK subsequently saw huge spikes in the numbers of cases, far more per thousand of their population than had Greece even during the worst days of the pandemic, and only then tightened its coronavirus-fighting measures.
Theoharis stated “I remind you that 20 cases per 100,000 per population is the self-imposed yardstick of the UK government and we are somewhere between 13 and 14 and going downwards, so this is really unfortunate in our view.”
++++++ The Minister then added “We still remain one of the countries with the best track record,” noting that the main goal of the nation’s health authorities is to keep everyone safe, both residents and travelers this year.
Greece has repeatedly moved to tighten restrictions as the health authorities detected small outbreaks on islands, in towns and cities on the mainland and in refugee camps.
Theoharis denied that his government is obfuscating actual epidemiological figures on Covid-19. He added that the number of tests has actually increased, especially in areas in which there has been a noticeable increase in cases.
He stated to interviewers “I believe that we are doing everything in our power to create all the protocols and carry out extra testing at the airports… Every day at the airports we test about 15 percent of the visitors that come in.”
The Minister went on to say “We have performed hundreds of thousands of tests at the borders and only 0.2 percent are positive. This is a very good rate… We feel that we have kept the situation under control due to this system.
“We are pleased to share the practical details, we have already done so with a number of European countries. And we would be happy to do that with the United Kingdom, as we have been in open discussion all this period.”
A total of 451,908 coronavirus tests were performed on travelers presenting themselves at all the entry points and borders of Greece from the official beginning of the tourist season on July 1 to September 6, 2020.
During that period of time, there were a total of 3,553,035 arrivals to Greece, in marked contrast to the numbers of tourists during a normal summer. There were a total of 972 confirmed cases of the coronavirus diagnosed in Greece during that corresponding time period.
In related news, Greek police carried out 42,259 checks to prevent the spread of coronavirus throughout the country on Tuesday. They reported a total of eight violations of rules on the operation of shops and private businesses, with one arrest.
Additionally, they investigated three venues for operating after midnight, which were fined 10,000 euros and required to close for three days.
The police also fined one traveler who failed to complete a Passenger Locator Form and investigated 240 violations for the non-use of masks and people who were not observing social distancing.