The Committee of Experts of the Health Ministry decided in a meeting on Friday, to discuss the threat of the newly discovered Covid-19 variant, that Greece will not (yet) issue a travel ban similar to the ones announced by the United Kingdom and Israel.
Instead, the Health Ministry announced that only essential travel will be allowed from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Eswatini, Zambia and Malawi, while travelers will need to procure a special permit from the local Greek diplomatic mission. These restrictions will come into effect as of 6:00 Saturday.
Those granted a permit will have to undergo a PCR tests 72 hours before travel and submit to a rapid antigen test upon arrival. After that, they will have to quarantine in a designated hotel for 10 days, and do a second rapid test at the end of that period.
The Greek government will decide on whether to issue a travel ban after scientists get “a clear picture” of a new version of the coronavirus detected in South Africa, Health Minister Thanos Plevris said on Friday.
“We will also follow a tough line, but first our scientists must have a clear picture,” he told journalists when asked if Greece will follow the example of the aforementioned countries.
Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Friday “all air travel” should be suspended with southern African countries until details of the new variant are more clear.