Aegean Airlines announced that it will temporarily suspend most of its international routes from Thursday, March 26, through Thursday, April 30, to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Aegean said it will operate a small number of flights to Brussels from Athens to maintain connectivity with the EU's administrative centre. The airline will also continue to operate flights within Greece at lower frequencies.
On Sunday, March 22, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced that a nationwide lockdown will come into effect across all of Greece starting at 06:00 (local time) on Monday, March 23. Per the directive, all residents are requested to limit non-essential movement. Only individuals going to or from work, shopping for food or medicine, or visiting a doctor will be allowed out and must carry proper identification and documentation validating their reasons for movement. Those found in violation of the lockdown or lacking the proper documentation may be subject to fines.
As of Wednesday, Mach 25, there are 743 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, including 20 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.
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). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
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 respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.