Greece’s tourism minister has pleaded with the UK not to put the country on the amber plus list for travel, insisting that “Greece is a safe country” for tourists.
There are growing fears among holidaymakers that quarantine rules would return even for fully vaccinated travellers to the country following a sharp spike in infections.
Almost 2,700 Covid infections were reported across Greece last week, marking a nearly sevenfold increase over the past three weeks.
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However, the country’s 14 day case rate per 100,000 inhabitants currently stands at 167 — still far below the UK’s case rate of 440.
Speaking to Sky News, tourism minister Harry Theoharis said: “We should remain on the amber list. We certainly hope that the data supports our view.
“Greece is a safe country… Our vaccination drive and programme continues unabated,” he added, noting that “close to 60 per cent of the adult population has been vaccinated”.
The Greek economy is heavily dependent on tourism, with around 20 per cent of GDP deriving from the sector.
Tourist numbers recovered slightly in June from a major slump last year, with a swathe of holidaymakers from Germany, France and Poland pushing arrivals up around 50 per cent last month.
But fresh restrictions on the party island of Mykonos have raised concerns that this summer may prove another difficult season for the country.
Music was banned from restaurants and bars on the Greek party island last week, where a night-time curfew has also been introduced.
Greece’s Civil Protection Ministry said the round-the-clock ban on music also included shops, cafés and beach bars.
The ministry said the measures were introduced to “quickly control and contain the spreading of the virus,” as mainland infections continue to spread across the country’s islands in the peak summer season.
Greece is currently on the UK’s amber list, meaning those who have received both vaccine doses and the under-18s no longer have to quarantine upon return to Britain.
A move to the amber plus list would likely see a return to the 10-day quarantine rule for all arrivals to the UK, regardless of their vaccine status.
It follows the Government’s decision on Friday to reinstate quarantine rules for all those returning from France, in the wake of growing case numbers of the Beta variant, first discovered in South Africa.
There are fears that Spain could also follow suit, in a decision that could fling thousands more summer holiday plans into chaos.
According to the Gisaid Research Centre, 9.3 per cent of coronavirus cases in Spain over the past month were of the Beta variant, compared to 3.7 per cent in France.