Greece to allow entry to tourists from Israel, 28 other countries from June 15
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Greece to allow entry to tourists from Israel, 28 other countries from June 15

Greek tourism ministry says visitors may be subject to sample coronavirus testing, will be able to enter country if they fly direct to Athens, Thessaloniki

A cafe-restaurant worker stands outside as people drink coffee in Monastiraki district of Athens, May 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
A cafe-restaurant worker stands outside as people drink coffee in Monastiraki district of Athens, May 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS, Greece — Greece on Friday listed 29 countries from where it will accept visitors as of June 15 as the Greek government looks to mitigate some of the financial damage from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Greek Tourism Ministry said travelers from the permitted countries will be able to enter Greece on direct flights to Athens and to the northern city of Thessaloniki. The list will be expanded on July 1 to include other countries, the ministry said.

“Our aim is to be able to welcome every tourist who has overcome their fear and has the ability to travel to our country,” Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said on Antenna television.

The 29 announced Friday are: Albania, Australia, Austria, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Estonia, Japan, Israel, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lebanon, New Zealand, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, Norway, South Korea, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Finland.

Visitors arriving from those countries could be subject to sample coronavirus testing, the ministry said.

A coast guard officer wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, walks on the dock as a ferry, right, leaves and another one approaches the Aegean Sea island of Milos, Greece, May 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Greece imposed a lockdown early in its coronavirus outbreak, a move credited with limiting infections. The country so far has a total of 175 deaths and just over 2,900 confirmed cases. No cases have been detected on the vast majority of the Greek islands, which are popular vacation spots.

Safety measures in place include capacity limits at hotels and resorts, each hotel having a designated doctor and close consultations with the Health Ministry, which has been improving treatment facilities at regional hospitals, including on several islands.

“We are opening up, but at the same time we are closely monitoring the situation. Strict health protocols will protect both staff and tourists,” Theoharis said before the list was announced.

Tourism and related industries make up around 20% of the Greek economy, and the government has been anxious to ensure the tourist season is not lost this year.

Under current Israeli regulations, Israelis vacationing overseas will still have to undergo two weeks of quarantine after returning. Foreigners without permanent residence status are still barred from entering the country.

Times of Israel Staff contributed to this report

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