All those traveling to Greece must show a negative rapid test taken within 24 hours of their journey or a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of their trip before entering the country, according to an announcement by the Greek Health Ministry on Thursday.
The measure goes into effect at 6:00 a.m. Sunday, December 19, 2021.
This is an amendment to the rule announced Wednesday that all travelers to Greece would have to show a mandatory negative PCR test for Covid starting on Sunday, the country’s Health Ministry announced on Wednesday.
The initial measure did not allow for the use of rapid tests and had a shorter time window of 48 hours for PCR tests.
The measure affects all travelers, whether they are vaccinated against Covid-19 or not, irrespective of the country of departure. The only exception is for travelers who have spent less than 48 hours in a country prior to arriving in Greece.
Covid Cases in Greece
The daily briefing by the National Organization for Public Health (EODY) reported 4,696 new cases, 96 deaths, and 692 intubated patients. In comparison, EODY’s report on Wednesday revealed 4,801 cases, 77 deaths, and 683 intubations.
Most of those intubated (570 or 82.37 percent) are unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated, with the remaining patients (122, or 17.63 percent) being fully vaccinated.
The total number of reported coronavirus cases in Greece since the start of the pandemic rose to 1,022,141, with the total number of deaths over the same period reaching 19,651.
Omicron variant is “probably in most countries of the world”
The World Health Organization is warning that omicron is spreading like no other strain of COVID-19 has before.
“Omicron is spreading at a rate we have not seen with any previous variant,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news briefing.
Omicron has been found in 77 countries less than one month after it was officially reported. As it announced that figure, the WHO added, “the reality is that omicron is probably in most countries, even if it hasn’t been detected yet.”
Omicron’s unusually high number of mutations on its protein spike quickly prompted fears that it would be more transmissible than any other variant and that it would potentially elude vaccine protections.
Early data from South Africa links the variant to fewer hospitalizations, but experts warn that dynamic might not be the same for every country, saying South Africa’s situation could have more to do with the very high proportion of its citizens who’ve previously been infected with COVID-19.
And because of the high transmission rate, health officials are bracing for a wave of new patients, just the same.
“Even if omicron does cause less severe disease, the sheer number of cases could once again overwhelm unprepared health systems,” Ghebreyesus said.