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Right now: My expertise touring to Greece throughout the COVID19 pandemic
Final month, I traveled to the stunningly lovely Greek islands of Santorini, Ios, and Mykonos for an extended summer time vacation with my household. I’ll quickly add my opinions & YouTube movies of the fabulous inns I stayed at, and I’ll additionally publish some further movies of thrilling actions as properly (e.g. helicopter flight over Santorini’s caldera, kitesurfing in Mykonons, and so on …). On this blogpost, I need to share my private expertise of touring to Greece throughout the ongoing COVID pandemic (the nice, the unhealthy, and the downright ugly). So, for those who’re planning a visit to Greece, right here’s what you’ll have to know and anticipate.
First some data and context: I’m totally vaccinated since March (Pfizer). I additionally stay very prudent in my every day social interactions at work and in my personal life, primarily as a result of I need to shield the well being of doubtless weak folks in my direct surroundings and likewise as a result of I obtained COVID myself final January. Additionally, the delta variant of the virus (first recognized in India) is spreading quickly internationally, and that is additionally the case in Greece. Shortly earlier than my departure final month, the variety of COVID circumstances in Greece was rising exponentially, particularly on the island of Mykonos, the place the 7 day an infection fee rose to a staggering 3500 infections per 100,000 inhabitants (equal of round 50 new circumstances of COVID per day on the island). Sadly, Greece’s coronavirus surge is getting worse by the day, and it simply hit a brand new file this week with 4181 new circumstances in in the future.
On this article:
- Documentation wanted for journey to Greece
- My flight to Greece (with Lufthansa)
- Resort stays inside Greece
- Mini-lockdown in Mykonos
- Island hopping in Greece
1. DOCUMENTION NEEDED PRIOR TO TRAVEL TO GREECE
If you’re a citizen of one of many following international locations, you’re allowed to journey to Greece: European Union and Schengen Space international locations, USA, UK, Albania, Australia, Bahrain, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, China, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Lebanon, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Montenegro, Russia, South Korea, Thailand, UAE, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Jordan, Moldova, and Brunei.
For vacationers from most of those international locations, quarantine in Greece will be skipped on situation of a damaging COVID PCR check inside 72 hours earlier than journey, an infection throughout the previous 2-9 months, or full vaccination, accomplished a minimum of 14 days earlier. Acceptable vaccines are Pfizer BioNtech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Novovax, Johnson + Johnson, Sinovac, Sputnik, Cansino and Sinopharm. That is in deviation from official EU coverage, which is to solely admit those that have acquired EU-approved vaccines.
Al vacationers should full a Passenger Locator Kind (PLF) previous to departure. This consists of particulars of the place you might have been and the deal with you propose to remain at in Greece. Every PLF features a distinctive QR code which will probably be scanned upon arrival on the Greek border. The QR code will inform you whether or not you want to have a further check achieved on the airport. In the event you do, you have to self-isolate till you might have the outcomes — round 24 hours. Quarantine inns are able to accommodate those that check optimistic throughout this course of.
2. MY FLIGHT TO GREECE (WITH LUFTHANSA)
Germany has weathered the COVID storm higher than many international locations in Europe, which will be contributed partially to the inhabitants’s disciplinary habits. Germans are well-known for his or her self-discipline and punctuality, and so is its flag provider, Lufthansa. I used to be anticipating a zero COVID tolerance coverage from Lufthansa (a reassuring thought), however that turned out to not be the case.
The bottom expertise appeared to comply with all of the strict COVID protocols, reflecting the brand new regular on the planet of journey. For instance, entry to the Lufthansa lounge was solely potential when downloading a German app or finishing a doc for contact tracing. As well as, passengers needed to current one of many following: a damaging Corona check (max. 24h previous), proof of vaccination towards COVID or proof of restoration. Whereas this could be an excessive amount of problem and fuss for some, it’s deemed secure by consultants and doubtless additionally one of many the reason why Germany remains to be doing nice throughout the newest surge of the pandemic (it at present has one of many lowest COVID charges in Europe, regardless of rising circumstances in virtually every other nation on the continent).
Nevertheless, issues have been completely different within the air. A part of it was not the duty of Lufthansa, because the passengers on this flight turned out to be in a non-COVID frame of mind (which could be defined by Mykonos’ repute as a celebration island, attracting a crowd that’s presumably not petrified of the pandemic and likewise doesn’t comply with the principles to mitigate the unfold of an infection). For instance, my seat mate unmasked proper after takeoff and took a nap, face away from the aisle as to partially disguise his mask-less face from the cabin crew. Even worse, a number of passengers stored strolling up and down the aisle, and chatted with mates or kinfolk in different seats, all whereas not placing their face masks on. To my very own disappointment, the Lufthansa cabin crew didn’t intervene nor did they instruct passengers to put on their masks correctly (I suppose they have been overwhelmed by so many passengers not complying with the onboard masks coverage that they gave up). It was an enormous distinction with my expertise on the return flight to Paris with Transavia, the place the cabin crew was continuously monitoring passengers to verify they wore their face masks correctly (those that didn’t comply have been confronted instantly).
Some might imagine that my worries are baseless. Nevertheless, as a health care provider, I consider in science, not in anti-science propaganda. And the details are clear: face masks may help restrict the unfold of COVID and vaccination will shield you towards extreme illness. However vaccinated folks can nonetheless transmit the virus to somebody who doesn’t have the vaccine and/or whose well being is compromised (or has a earlier current situation). Subsequently, not sporting a face masks on a airplane is an extremely egocentric act as you set the well being of others (together with your personal family members) in danger, even when you find yourself totally vaccinated.
3. MY HOTEL EXPERIENCES WITHIN GREECE
I stayed at 7 completely different inns throughout my journey (I’ll quickly add my opinions + YouTube movies):
- 4 inns in Mykonos: Aeonic Suites, Myconian Imperial, Kalesma, and Invoice & Coo Coast Suites
- 2 inns in Santorini: Cavo Tagoo Santorini and Andronis Arcadia
- 1 resort in Ios: Calilo (PHENOMENAL resort property)
Calilo – considered one of Greece’s high inns – was the one resort the place I felt fully secure from a COVID perspective because it was clear that each the resort administration and employees took the pandemic – and the well being of their visitors – significantly. Calilo had carried out a number of measures: tables have been situated at a secure distance within the restaurant, hand sanitizers have been accessible all over the place, physique temperatures have been checked upon arrival, all resort employees wore their face masks correctly always, waiters on the breakfast buffet served visitors, and so on …
Issues have been completely different although in any respect the opposite inns I stayed at, with one factor all of them had in widespread: the employees not sporting their face masks correctly (more often than not solely overlaying their chin). I couldn’t assist however marvel why Asian individuals are so disciplined on the subject of sporting face masks whereas in Europe so many refuse to (or don’t know easy methods to) put on their face masks appropriately. At the beginning of my vacation, I used to be irritated each time I noticed somebody not sporting their face masks correctly (particularly given the skyrocketing variety of COVID circumstances in Mykonos on the time). Nevertheless, after a number of days, I gave up and accepted the truth that if you journey, there’s solely little you are able to do if different folks don’t comply with the right COVID pointers, hereby inflicting a possible threat to your personal well being. After all, there have been some reassuring ideas: I’m totally vaccinated, the nice climate allowed out of doors dwelling, and I didn’t go to the island’s get together scene (the place a lot of the infections appeared to happen).
Due to COVID, most inns changed their breakfast buffets by menus, though some inns select to maintain their all-you-can-eat breakfast feasts. After all, there have been restrictions in place: hand sanitizer was offered and visitors have been required to put on masks when standing to gather meals. Nevertheless, there was one resort the place I felt that the breakfast buffet was missing some COVID security requirements: Myconian Imperial (Mykonos). The breakfast was superbly displayed (the most effective breakfast buffets in Greece) but it surely was overcrowded with visitors, most of them strolling across the buffet stations with out masks. I shared my suggestions with the restaurant supervisor, who assured me that every one security protocols have been adopted. Additionally, in keeping with authorities studies, the resort has had zero reported COVID circumstances, so apparently they’re doing high quality. However, as a visitor, I felt that the resort might have averted this uncomfortable scenario by both providing an a la carte menu as a substitute of buffet, by introducing a reservation system for breakfast, or by implementing a masks and glove coverage.
4. MINI-LOCKDOWN IN MYKONOS
Referred to as the get together island of the wealthy and well-known, Mykonos is considered one of Greece’s hottest locations, attracting greater than one million guests every summer time, amongst them Hollywood stars, fashions and athletes. Nevertheless, following a worrying native COVID outbreak initially of my go to, authorities in Greece carried out a mini-lockdown: music on the island was banned across the clock, together with in retailers, cafes and seaside bars. And there was a curfew between 1 am to six am aside from these going to and from work or to hospital. Apparently, 14 days later (within the final week of my vacation), the scenario improved and authorities lifted the restrictions. In accordance with media, the surge in COVID circumstances in Mykonos was accountable on events that occurred in personal villas and luxurious yachts with no strict management by the authorities .
At present, Mykonos stays below fixed surveillance by authorities and new measures aren’t dominated out if leisure steady as earlier than, rules aren’t noticed, or a brand new enhance of infections is recorded. However Mykonos isn’t the one Greek island that’s experiencing coronavirus outbreaks. For instance, the island of Paros, additionally within the Cyclades group, is below elevated surveillance as properly, nevertheless, there’s a completely different mannequin of utilized “restrictions”: intensive management checks in amenities the place crowding phenomena are being noticed.
For a weekly replace of the COVID scenario in Greece, click on right here.
5. ISLAND HOPPING
If you’re touring by ferry inside Greece, you want to fill out the digital Well being Assertion Kind or its print model and current a damaging COVID check.
The Well being Assertion Kind is accomplished by grownup passengers for his or her ferry journey inside 24 hours earlier than every ferry journey. In case your itinerary consists of a couple of ferry crossings, you want to fill out the shape for every ferry journey, getting into the related particulars. You’ll be able to both print your assertion or reserve it in your cell system.
Your proof of damaging COVID check for ferry journey inside Greece will be any of the next:
- Full vaccination certificates (legitimate so long as 14 days have handed since full vaccination)
- Official affirmation of COVID an infection issued 30 days after the primary optimistic check (legitimate for 180 days after the primary optimistic check)
- Damaging results of PCR check carried out as much as 72 hours earlier than departure
- Damaging results of speedy check carried out as much as 48 hours earlier than departure
- Damaging results of a COVID self-test carried out as much as 24 hours earlier than departure, solely legitimate for passengers 12-17 years previous (the result’s declared both in writing on the printed model of the self-test end result declaration type or by means of the self-test end result declaration platform for Greek residents, in addition to on the Well being Assertion Kind)
So, if you’re not (totally) vaccinated but, it is best to rethink your plan to island hop inside Greece, as you have to to carry out a brand new COVID check each time you propose to journey by ferry.
There are a number of exceptions:
- While you journey from the islands to Greece’s mainland, a damaging results of a COVID self-test carried out as much as 24 hours earlier than departure can be legitimate for all adults.
- While you journey by ferry in Greece between islands of various administrative areas (e.g. from Crete to Santorini), you don’t have to fill out the Well being Declaration Kind.
- While you journey by ferry in Greece between islands of the identical administrative areas (e.g. from Santorini to Mykonos), you don’t have to fill out the Well being Declaration Kind, and a damaging results of a COVID self-test carried out as much as 24 hours earlier than departure can be legitimate for all adults.
Ferry journey measures inside Greece are topic to alter relying on the COVID scenario per area (click on right here for web site that’s offering up-to-date data). Ensure you arrive on the port a minimum of 1.5 hours earlier than departure and have all crucial paperwork available for checks.
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