Greece, tourists in Santorini

Greece registers first cases of coronavirus imported by tourists

36 of the 43 new coronavirus positives detected in the last 24 hours in Greece were foreign tourists who have entered the country after the reopening of the borders.

Greece recorded its first positive cases of coronavirus in several weeks on Monday, mainly due to cases imported by the first tourists to the country after the opening of the borders.

36 of the 43 new positives confirmed in the last 24 hours in the country were tourists from abroad, as reported by the Greek health authorities; 20 of them are tourists from Serbia, while the other 16 would be of several different nationalities. Just on Monday, the Greek government ordered the temporary closure of its borders to Serbia due to the increase in cases of COVID-19 in that country.

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić however criticised the decision, which will be periodically reviewed by Greece. “We are confident that other facts will be taken into account. It is obvious that Greece is interested in foreign tourists arrival, and in fact most of the tourists precisely come from Serbia,” Dačić recalled.

Tour operators and travel agencies in Serbia have also expressed their unease at the Athens decision, assuring that it is not justified. Serbia currently has just over 2,700 active cases of coronavirus and has registered a total of some 16,000 positive cases and 317 deaths, well below other nearby countries such as Italy.

Many Serbs who are now unable to enter Greek territory are opting for alternative destinations such as Antalya (Turkey), where hundreds of tourists from Serbia arrived by plane on Sunday. Since Greece reopened its borders on July 1 to foreign tourism following the confinement due to the coronavirus, an estimated 100,000 tourists have crossed the Greek border from Bulgaria alone.