Increases in novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in its Balkans neighbours and many “imported” cases in recent days have led Athens to tighten the screening of nationals of neighbouring countries coming in overland.
Government spokesman Stelios Petsas said on Friday that, from 14 July, anyone coming in at the Promachonas border outpost from Bulgaria would have to show a negative test done up to 72 hours before their arrival in Greece.
On Friday, 29 tourists from Bulgaria and Romania tested positive for COVID-19 at the border outpost at Promachonas. Since Monday, at least seven tourists from Serbia also tested positive and were quarantined.
Following a surge in infections in Serbia, Greece decided on Sunday to close its borders to all Serbian nationals until 15 July.
Since reopening its borders in mid-June, Greece has been conducting random tests on tourists entering the country.
Travellers needed to fill in an online form 48 hours in advance and receive a bar code that determines whether they need to undergo a diagnostic test on arrival. That questionnaire now has to be completed and submitted 24 hours in advance, Spokesman Petsas said.
“The number of tests conducted will be strengthened,” he said, adding that by Sunday, 300 tests will have been done in Greece.
While the number of deaths in Greece has remained low, on 193, the fact that over half of the dead are tourists has become a source of concern.
“The relaxation of lockdown measures has caused a rebound effect on the first wave, the head of the Athens Faculty of Medicine’s Microbiology Department, Athanassios Tsakiris, said on Skai television channel, warning that “it’s possible that a greater increase (in cases) will be observed.”