Greece holidays: Britons face travel ban as country ramps up COVID-19 testing at borders

Britons jetting off to Greece could now have their holiday dreams shattered if more than 30 British tourists test positive for coronavirus upon arrival in the country. Though more than 200 flight safe expected to fly off to the nation from the UK this week alone, Greece has plans to begin a heavier testing to regime to “determine if Greek borders remain open, or not, to Britain”.

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Should too many UK visitors receive positive results on arrival, the Greek government could make the decision to shut its borders to Britain until further notice.

According to Greek newspaper Protothema: “The result of the mass testing…will determine if Greek borders remain open, or not, to Britain.”

The newspaper adds “the British tourist market will remain open” only “if the number and percentage of those found to be positive is low, and is limited to less than 30 to 40 cases”.

The newspaper does not determine if this means 30 to 40 cases per day or per flights.

Greek Tourism Minister Paris Theocharis spoke out about the country’s testing drive ahead of the UK’s welcome back into the nation.

He said: “We are monitoring the numbers and the procedures we are applying, and we are happy with the results so far,” he said despite reports of low numbers.

By the end of last week, around 6,000 Britons had been tested for the virus by Greek authorities.

However, if numbers creep up, Athens has the power to reseal its borders and ban British tourists once again.

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Local newspaper Protothema added: “The government won’t hesitate, calculating that the cost of the risk of coronavirus spreading is much more important than any benefits to tourism in a year that is considered largely lost.”

British travellers were welcomed back to Greece as of July 15 but must follow strict guidelines put in place by local authorities.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) warns: “If you travel to Greece, you will need to complete a Passenger Locator Form at least 48 hours before travel.

“Failure to do so in advance may result in your carrier not allowing you to travel, a 500 Euro fine on arrival or the Greek authorities not allowing you to enter the country.”

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Already, there have been reports of holidaymakers showing up to Greece without the required health screening forms and being handed a hefty fine.

According to Greece’s Greek Reporter, local news site ekriti reported German holidaymakers protested after being penalised for showing up without a Passenger Locator Form (PLF).

They insisted they did not know about the forms.

The news site states the travellers were not told about the need for the PLF ahead of their journey.

The PLF must be filled out 24 hours in advance and once it is complete, passengers will be issued with a QR code which will be scanned by authorities.

Travel operators will normally ask for proof of the complete PLF form before boarding, according to the FCO.

It states: “If you are travelling by air to Greece, your airline will ask you to prove that you have completed the PLF form.”

The FCO also adds: “You may be required to take a test for coronavirus (COVID-19) and undergo a period of self-isolation.”

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