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First Vaccinated Tourists from Israel Arrive in Greece

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The first tourists from Israel arrived in Athens on Saturday, all holding their vaccination certificates. / Greek Reporter illustration

The first vaccinated tourists from Israel arrived in Greece on Saturday morning, all holding their precious vaccination certificates, as demanded by the Greek government.

This will allow them to enjoy their vacations in Greece without having to quarantine due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The first flight arrived in Athens from Tel Aviv at 11 am local time.

The tourists were obligated to show their vaccination certificates in order to be able to leave Eleftherios Venizelos international airport of Athens.

Greece to Allow 10,000 Vaccinated Travelers from Israel Per Week

Greek authorities decided recently to accept a maximum of 10,000 vaccinated Israeli tourists per week.

This move is part of the nation’s “Green Pass” initiative, which allows vaccinated individuals into the country as a way to kick off the Greek tourism season this Spring.

All the Israelis who will be allowed to visit Greece must show a certificate — an idea which was spearheaded by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in January — showing they have received vaccinations, have tested negative, or have antibodies against, the coronavirus.

Greece has been trying to persuade its fellow EU member states to adopt a similar to the bilateral agreement between Athens and Tel Aviv approach at an EU-wide level.

One in Two Israelis Now Fully Vaccinated

Israel has rolled out a vaccination campaign that is second to none in the world. Currently, 5.2 million Israelis have become inoculated with the vaccines, with 55% receiving their first dose and a whopping 49% having undergone their second dose.

However, the European Union, with very few of its citizens fully inoculated, is lagging far behind most of the rest of the western world in the pace of its inoculations.

However, the bloc but is expecting to implement a similar system as the Green Pass when the vaccination process bears fruit.

Greatly-strengthened ties between Greece and Israel

Greece and Israel have greatly strengthened their already very cordial ties in the last several years, with accords in the areas of energy, the military and tourism showing that they greatly value the collaboration they share in many spheres.

Although Israel had received plaudits worldwide for its vaccine rollout, with the number of infections plummeting, some citizens there may still be leery of travel since coronavirus variants are still rampant throughout Europe and the rest of the world.

One of the reasons that Israel has had such a successful campaign against the coronavirus is that it closed both land and air gateways for the most part on January 25. This, unfortunately, left thousands of individuals unable to return to the country — but it did tamp down the number of variants that are in the population.

Israel itself remains largely closed to non-citizens at the present time.

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