Greece emerges from coronavirus lockdown as it prepares to reopen to holidaymakers in just weeks

GREECE is finally emerging from coronavirus lockdown ahead of welcoming visitors once more by the middle of next month.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the domestic tourism season will start on 15 June, with the first international holidaymakers allowed in 16 days later.

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In the wake of the news, easyJet has started re-selling flights from London Gatwick to Athens.

And some of the ancient country's most historic "open air" sights – like the Acropolis –  have already reopened.

Locals are now able to get up close to the incredible ruins – although strict social distancing rules are in place.

Visitors are also expected to wear face masks while large groups or tours with a guide are still banned.

However, the country’s many museums are set to remain shuttered until next month.


Greece has escaped relatively unscathed during the pandemic with just 2,876 confirmed cases and 171 deaths among its population of 11 million.

Its leaders put the low death rate down to the fact they introduced strict lockdown rules in the very early days of the outbreak.

And even though it will open its doors to overseas holidaymakers from July 1 the UK is not expected to be on a list of those allowed back in.

A list of countries from which visitors will be able to arrive in Greece will be announced before the end of the month.


The selection will be based on “epidemiological criteria” as determined by Greece’s committee of pandemic experts.

But the Greek tourism minister Haris Theoharis told ITV News that the UK's record on coronavirus is not good enough at the moment for Brits to be allowed to return.

“I think that the UK has a big difference in terms of the current medical status of the country with Greece, so I don’t think it’s likely it will be there,” he said.

Balkan and Baltic countries, Germany and regional countries such as Israel and Cyprus are expected to be in the first wave of those whose citizens will be allowed back.

Around three million Brits – the vast majority of them tourists – travel to Greece in a normal year and the UK and Germany are the country’s two leading tourism markets.

Earlier we reported how there was fresh hopes for foreign holidays this summer after it emerged “safe corridors” could open by July.

France is seen as the most likely candidate to offer Britain its first foreign holiday deal this summer.

Boris Johnson and French leader Emmanuel Macron have vowed to help each other save their tourist sectors.

Spain, Portugal Greece and Australia could also soon follow — with all declaring that they will be ready to receive British tourists by July.

 

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