Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Greece extend curfew through at least April 27 to curb spread of COVID-19. Other measures remain.

This alert affects Greece

This alert began 05 Apr 2020 06:21 GMT and is scheduled to expire 27 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Movement restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant travel and business disruptions

Authorities in Greece have extended a nationwide daily curfew through at least April 27, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Officials require residents to acquire permits to leave their homes during this time. Authorities will issue permits for travel to essential work, medical necessities, food shopping, family emergencies, attendance of funerals and religious or cultural ceremonies, personal exercise, and dog-walking; emergency services personnel, armed forces personnel, and religious leaders are exempt. Failure to comply with the restrictions will result in a fine. Police have deployed heavily, particularly in Athens and Thessaloniki, to enforce the measures.

All businesses, except supermarkets, fresh food stores, pharmacies, and fuel stations, remain closed. National rail operator TrainOSE has cut back services nationwide; public transport services in Athens remain significantly reduced, and the Athens Ring Road remains closed. All hotels are closed until at least April 30; Airbnb and similar services are unaffected. Authorities closed educational facilities until April 27. Public gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited; officials banned residents from visiting parks, playgrounds, sports arenas, and other outdoor recreational areas. Authorities also implemented a ban on large events and conferences until April 5, though this is likely to be extended. Although authorities have banned all religious services, places of worship remain open for individuals.

Non-EU and Schengen Area citizens are prohibited from entry until at least April 18, except residents, diplomats, and transit passengers. The borders with Albania, North Macedonia, and Turkey remained closed until further notice. Airlines are operating a significantly reduced service across the region. Flights connecting with several countries, including Italy, Spain, Turkey, and the UK, are suspended until at least April 15; authorities may announce further service reductions and airport closures at short notice. All international ferry services remain suspended; ferry services between the Greek islands and the mainland continue to operate for permanent Greek residents only. All travelers, including Greek nationals, who arrive from any foreign destination must self-isolate for 14 days or be subject to a fine and/or enforced quarantine.

Authorities could introduce additional measures in response to disease developments in the country.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Travel Certificate Forms:

World Health Organization (WHO):