Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Greece maintain nationwide movement restrictions as of April 3 to curb spread of COVID-19.

This alert affects Greece

This alert began 03 Apr 2020 14:15 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

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

Summary
Authorities in Greece are maintaining nationwide movement restrictions as of April 3 to help prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). A nationwide daily curfew is in effect until at least April 11 and residents must have a permit to leave their homes during this time. Officials will only 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, are closed. National rail operator TrainOSE has cut back services nationwide; public transport services in Athens have also been significantly reduced and the Athens Ring Road has been closed. All hotels are closed until at least April 30; Airbnb and similar services are unaffected. Educational facilities are currently closed until April 27. Public gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited; residents are not permitted to visit parks, playgrounds, sports arenas, and other outdoor recreational areas. Authorities have 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, with the exception of 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; further service reductions and airport closures could be announced at short notice. All international ferry services have been 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.

Advice
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.

Resources
Travel Certificate Forms: https://forma.gov.gr

World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int