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30 Nov 2020 | 03:45 AM UTC

Greece: Authorities extend border closure until December 14 /update 43

Authorities extend border closure until December 14; abide by government directives

entry/exit
health
transportation
GRC

Event

Greek authorities have announced that most land, air, and sea borders in the country will be closed until at least December 14, amid a recent spike in cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The latest announcement follows a previous closure until December 7, which Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has not been as effective as planned as the country has seen a record number of deaths caused by the virus over the weekend. The latest total death count due to COVID-19 as of Monday, November 30, is 2,321 with 104,227 total cases since the beginning of the pandemic. 

From November 20, the land border with neighboring Albania at the Krystallopigi entry point is partially closed and only trucks are permitted to pass through Nymfeas (border crossing with Bulgaria). The Kakavia, Evzoni, and Promachonas border crossings 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 other 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 current lockdown in Greece is in place until at least December 7. Amid the measures, grocery shopping and exercise in groups of up to two are among the few reasons that people can leave home; however, prior to leaving the house for essential reasons, individuals must obtain an approval using the government SMS system on 13033 or have a certificate from their employer. High schools have switched to distance learning during the lockdown and nonessential businesses must close, including retail stores, bars, restaurants, museums, entertainment venues, and gyms. The use of face masks both indoors and outside remains mandatory. A nighttime curfew between 21:00 and 05:00 (local time) nationwide was also introduced on November 13. During these hours, movement will only be permitted for work, health reasons, or to walk pets close to home.

Further international spread of the disease is expected over the medium 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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