Greece will impose COVID-related restrictions on travelers from China, it was announced after a government meeting on Thursday.
The country will demand a negative COVID-19 test and masks for travelers from China at the airports of Greece.
This is a complete change of events by Greek authorities who only last week announced that there will be no special COVID-related restrictions to travelers from China.
Greece adopts EU recommendations on travelers from China
Greece has decided to adopt the EU recommendations concerning travel from China in the wake of a surge of COVID cases in the Asian country. On Wednesday, EU nations recommended imposing new restrictions. “The Member States agreed on a coordinated precautionary approach in…light of COVID-19 developments in China,” said a statement.
The designated measures requested for travelers from China are a negative COVID-19 test forty-eight hours prior to departure and the use of a high-protection mask.
The EU decision also provides for random checks of passengers arriving from China and sequencing of all positive results to strengthen surveillance of the epidemiological situation.
It also provides for control measures regarding sewage from airports with international flights and aircraft arriving from China.
A relevant announcement is expected from the Greek Health Ministry, which will further specify measures to be taken.
China criticizes testing requirements for travelers
Officials in China have criticized recently imposed testing requirements on travelers from the country and threatened to take reciprocal countermeasures.
China currently requires foreign visitors to present a negative COVID-19 test before entering the country, as well as to quarantine for eight days following their arrival. Beijing hopes to scrap the confinement requirement this coming weekend but will continue to demand proof of negative COVID-19 tests from visitors from abroad.
In December, it also said it would restart issuing visas for residents to travel abroad. Last week, Greece’s National Public Health Organization (EODY) announced it had no intention of imposing restrictions on travelers from China.
EODY said in a statement: “The recent surge of infections in China following the easing of COVID-19 response measures is not a point of much concern in terms of the course of the pandemic. There is currently no evidence that a new variant has emerged.”