Greece has been in the news a lot lately (and here on the blog!) for their handling of the coronavirus in-country and their reopening plan as they begin to welcome tourists from all over the world.
Today, we saw something happen that may give an indication of what may happen if coronavirus cases tick up strongly from some countries.
Greece Stops Flights from Qatar After 12 of 91 Passengers Test Positive
Greece is preparing to open their borders for tourists from all over on June 15. This is also the day that the EU external borders open. Greece has said that this will be a two-phase operation from June 15 – 30 and then July 1 and on (read more about that at this post).
People both in Greece and abroad have wondered what will happen if tourists start to bring the virus back into Greece. Well, we may have had a little look at what could happen should this occur.
No More Flights From Qatar Until June 15
Qatar Airways has been one airline that really kept flying quite a bit during this whole crisis. They have normally had several flights a day to Greece in the past though that has shrunk during the virus crisis.
Monday, a Qatar Airways plane from Doha to Athens carrying 91 passengers had 12 of those passengers (or 13%) test positive for the coronavirus. Following the new protocol, those 12 people were put into quarantine at a designated hotel for 2 weeks (at the expense of the Greek government) while the remaining passengers were put into quarantine for 1 week.
It appears that at least some of these 12 passengers were transiting Doha with 2 of them being Greek citizens from Australia.
Following the tests, the Greek government ordered flights to and from Qatar to Greece halted until June 15, the day that other travelers can begin to come.
With under 3,000 cases in total in Greece, the people and the government certainly do not want the numbers to start climbing so they are prepared to handle those that have the virus. This includes mandatory testing from June 15 – 30 of people that originate from designated airports, according to the EU list of places that have not been able to handle it yet.
But, if this type of situation were to happen when the gates reopen on June 15, could Greece do a similar move and halt flights from the airport that such flights (that have numerous cases on an airplane) have originated? I don’t know if that would really work, however, since that airport may have just been a transit spot for those infected.
At any rate, I am glad to see Greece taking such action to keep the virus from coming back in. We will have to wait and see what happens when more people start coming.