As of August 2, 2021, the United States State Department has put the country of Greece at an Advisory Level 4. This is the highest alert level the US has and comes at a time when new positive cases of covid and its variants are climbing in the country. So, what does this mean for your trip to Greece this year?
US Puts Greece at Level 4 – Do Not Travel
First thing – do not cancel your summer vacation to Greece just yet! An alert level of 4 can be indicative of many things, including such things as safety, terrorism, and health. In this case, it is a Health Notice due to Covid-19.
The daily levels of positive tests for Covid-19 are announced each day and are averaging around 2,300 positive cases per day. This is lower than the daily totals of over 3,000 that were around earlier in the spring as over 5 million Greek citizens are now fully vaccinated. But, as people are finding out, being vaccinated does not mean you do not get covid-19, but those who are getting it are reporting milder symptoms.
Greece also has a much lower count of people in ICU beds, which was a key reason that the country went into lockdown last year. The country’s hospital situation is such that many are not large enough or have enough ICU beds to handle cases that become that severe. At some points, ICU beds were at 100% capacity in some regions. But, that number has dropped quite a bit since then.
Also, positive numbers are not the same indicator that they were back in March/April. Back then, those numbers were by people getting tested because they had symptoms or were around someone that tested positive. Now, non-vaccinated people are required to test before heading to islands and are recommended to test before returning to the mainland. Furthermore, employees that are not vaccinated still need to take weekly self tests. In other words, people are testing for many more reasons that feeling symptomatic or because they were in proximity to a positive case.
This does not meant to downplay the health risk at all, just giving a more thorough overview than a simple Level 4 may indicate. Being in Greece in the summer is much different than being in Greece in colder weather as tourists are much more likely to spend a majority of their time outside – whether it is at a cafe, beach, or a seaside restaurant.
Here is what the US State Department says, exactly, about this new alert level:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Greece due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country. Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine. Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC’s specific recommendations for fully vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.
Far be it from me to tell you to visit Greece or cancel your trip. This decision ultimately falls on you to make. But, I did want to make aware the situation “on the ground” as well as the US government’s recommendation right now. Remember, it was just a few months ago that the US put 80% of the world on the Level 4 list!