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Greece Is Preparing For A Tourist Influx - Is It Ready?

Greece Is Preparing For A Tourist Influx - Is It Ready?

Greece will allow visitors from both Europe and elsewhere to travel to the country without the need to quarantine after their arrival. Also on May 14, COVID-19 lockdown restrictions will be lifted. Tourism generates over a quarter of Greece’s GDP and employs 16% of its population. Since the start of the pandemic, 65,000 jobs in tourism have been lost. Gavdos has an off-season population of 100 people and the entire population of the island has now been vaccinated against COVID-19 in line with the Greek government's policy of vaccinating residents of small and remote islands. So far, the population of 32 islands has been vaccinated with both doses, while another 36 islands, with a population of less than 10,000, will be fully vaccinated by May.


Greek Minister of Health Vasilis Kikilias said on May 12 that the communities of all the Greek islands - except large islands such as Crete - will be vaccinated by June. It hasn't been easy, officials say, delivering thousands of vaccines to far-flung islands scattered around the Aegean Sea.


Challenges remain

But COVID-19 has not gone away. On May 12, the number of new infections announced by Greek health authorities was 2,489, with 707 new patients intubated. So far, just 13% of the population - more than one million people - have received both doses of the vaccine, while Greece ranks 8th out of the 27 countries of the European Union in terms of the percentage of fully vaccinated population, the Greek Ministry of Health stated.


Only 63% of people over the 80 age have been vaccinated, while other countries, such as Spain, have already vaccinated the 100% of the same age group. The problem, officials say, is scepticism about vaccines.


Marios Themistocleous, general secretary at the Ministry of Health, said that some Greeks were more reluctant than other countries to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine because of reports about blood clots. While vaccine misinformation was a major issue. Greece was the first Mediterranean country to reopen to extra EU tourism, but other countries like Spain and Italy - which have better vaccine rollout speed - seem ready to follow in its footsteps.


Source: Euronews



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