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Recording No New Covid-19 Cases in 5 Days, Greece Reopens to Tourists with Random Testing

Visitors sit in bars in an area known as Little Venice on the Greek island of Mykonos. (AP)

Visitors sit in bars in an area known as Little Venice on the Greek island of Mykonos. (AP)

A ban on flights from Italy, Spain and the Netherlands has been lifted, although that on flights from Britain remains in place.

Greece is officially open to tourists as of Monday, with the first international flights expected into Athens and the northern city of Thessaloniki where passengers will not face compulsory coronavirus tests.

Seasonal hotels and museums are also opening, as are gyms in the latest step in Greece's phased reopening of businesses.

A ban on flights from Italy, Spain and the Netherlands has been lifted, although that on flights from Britain remains in place.

While some limited international flights had been allowed during Greece's coronavirus lockdown, imposed in March, all arriving passengers were subject to compulsory coronavirus tests and quarantine.

Greece's government imposed a strict lockdown early on in the country's outbreak, a move credited with keeping deaths and serious illness from the virus low.

The most recent official figures from Sunday show no daily coronavirus deaths in Greece for five days, with the total at 183 in this country of nearly 11 million people. Confirmed cases stand at 3,121.

The government is phasing Greece's reopening to tourists, with visitors able to fly into the capital and the second largest city of Thessaloniki as of Monday. Direct international flights to regional airports, including Greek islands, will begin on July 1. Visitors will be subject to random coronavirus tests.

Greece's economy is heavily dependent on tourism, which accounts for around 20% of gross domestic product, and the government has been keen to salvage what it can from the main summer season, particularly as Greece is still emerging from a decade-long financial crisis that led to three international bailouts and wiped out a quarter of the economy.Greece reopens to tourists, with random testing

first published:June 15, 2020, 16:08 IST