Greece has decided to introduce stricter tourism-related measures after the number of COVID-19 cases increased when it opened to visitors again on June 15. It has announced that it will increase testing at the country's borders with Bulgaria and Albania, because infections related to tourism from the Balkans have recently increased.

By June 18, World Health Organization figures revealed a rise in cases of the virus of 293% in the country, and there are currently more active cases of the virus in Greece than at any other point during the pandemic. Local health authorities have reported that more than 100 tourists have tested positive for the virus since reopening its borders. Government spokesman, Stelios Petsas, said that the new measures are being implemented as authorities have recorded four times as many positive coronavirus tests at the Greek-Bulgarian border crossing of Promachonas than at Athens' International Airport between July 1 to 11.

Petsas also said that the authenticity of the negative test results presented by travelers at Promachonas will be verified, and it will increase checks at the border crossings of Kakavia and Krystalopigi. Greece will allow direct flights from the UK and Sweden as of July 15 and July 22 respectively, provided travelers can show a negative coronavirus test. It is also considering opening to travelers from the US at the end of July.

Oia Church dome in Oia during sunset on Santorini
A 72-hour coronavirus test is being considered for travelers not allowed into Greece © saiko3p/Shutterstock

The Greek minister for tourism, Haris Theocharis, has indicated that a 72-hour coronavirus test is being considered for travelers from countries currently not allowed into Greece. “This year, the environment is complex and constantly changing," he said. "We want to open with health security, but not all parameters are controlled by us, since we see that countries that long ago had health control, now do not have it. We continue to fight to have a better opening of the borders and we are considering in every way to open for the other countries that we have now closed, with the 72-hour test.

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