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Greece aspires to restart tourism on May 14: minister

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-03-10 09:15
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Tourists enter the departures lounge of the airport of Heraklion, on the island of Crete, Greece, in this September 8, 2020 file photo. [Photo/Agencies]

ATHENS - Greece aspires to reopen tourism on May 14, as long as the epidemiological situation allows it, Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said Tuesday.

The country schedules a test run of safety protocol during April, welcoming visitors from European Union (EU) member states and countries like Israel, which have progressed significantly in their mass vaccination programs, the minister said, according to an e-mailed ministry press release.

Greece will open its gates to tourists provided that they have either been vaccinated, have antibodies or a negative COVID-19 test, the Greek minister said when addressing online the ITB Berlin 2021 international travel trade show.

Moreover, visitors could be subjected to random testing, and any quarantine or hospitalization costs will be covered by the Greek state, he said.

Despite the unprecedented challenges, some 6 million travelers visited Greece in 2020, Theoharis noted. In recent years, over 30 million people visited the country annually.

On Tuesday the National Public Health Organization (EODY) confirmed 3,215 new coronavirus infections and 46 deaths in the past 24 hours.

To date, Greece has a total of 209,462 confirmed cases since the first one was diagnosed on Feb. 26, 2020 in the country. Fatalities now total 6,843.

More than 1.1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far, with about 370,000 people having received both doses.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in an increasing number of countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.

Meanwhile, 261 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide -- 79 of them in clinical trials -- in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain, and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on March 5.

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