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19 Nov 2020 | 12:26 PM UTC

Authorities impose COVID-19 measures at northern border crossings November 20

Authorities to close border with Albania and carry out tests at border crossings from November 20 amid COVID-19 pandemic; follow official directives

entry/exit
health
transportation
GRC

Event

Greek authorities have announced new measures at northern land borders to come into effect from 06:00 (local time) on Friday, November 20, as part of efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The land border with neighboring Albania, Krystallopigi entry point, will be closed; only trucks will be permitted to pass through the Nymfeas crossing (the border crossing with Bulgaria). The Kakavia, Evzoni, and Promachonas border crossings will remain open. Those entering the country through border crossings will be required to undergo a rapid test for COVID-19 organized by the National Public Health Organization (EODY). Only those who test negative will be permitted to enter the country. Authorities will also reportedly step up checks on businesses and citizens in northern areas, to ensure lockdown measures in place are being followed.

Travelers arriving through Greece's entry points remain obliged to complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) prior to their trip. They must also present a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test, performed up to 72 hours before arrival.

A nationwide lockdown was introduced on November 7, through November 30, with restrictions on movements. Grocery shopping and exercise in groups of up to two are among the reasons that people can leave the home under the lockdown; however, prior to leaving the house for essential reasons, individuals must obtain approval using the government SMS system on 13033 or have a certificate from their employer. A nighttime curfew nationwide was also introduced on Friday, November 13. The curfew is in place between 21:00 and 05:00 (local time). During these hours movement will only be permitted for work, health reasons, or to walk pets close to home. High schools have switched to distance learning during the lockdown and nonessential retail businesses must close. The use of face masks both indoors and outside remains mandatory.

As of Thursday, November 19, there have been 82,034 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Greece with 1288 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:


  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.

  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.

  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.

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