Greece tightens entry restrictions on international visitors

All travellers will now have to present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure

The Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis. Courtesy Unsplash

Greece has tightened entry requirements on international travellers, in an attempt to control the spread of the Omicron variant.

From December 19, all foreign visitors over the age of 5 will have to show a rapid antigen or PCR test to enter the country, regardless of their vaccination status. PCR tests must be taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival, while rapid tests must be taken within 24 hours of arrival.

“As part of the Covid-19 pandemic control effort, our country will receive visitors from all countries with the demonstration of negative molecular control [PCR] for 48 hours,” the Greek Ministry of Health announced.

Previously, vaccinated travellers or those who could show proof they had recovered from the virus were not required to present a PCR test. "The Omicron variant prompted our country to take one-off measures for foreign visitors," government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou said. The new restrictions are expected to remain in place for the Christmas period, giving residents more time to get booster shots.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, five positive cases of the Omicron variant have been confirmed in Greece. Greece and Abu Dhabi have established a travel corridor, meaning travellers between the two countries do not need to quarantine in either destination.

Italy has made a similar move, and now also requires travellers from the European Union to test for Covid-19 before their trip, regardless of their vaccination or recovery status. The country has also reintroduced quarantine measures for visitors who are not vaccinated and cannot prove that they have recovered from the virus.

Updated: December 17th 2021, 7:26 AM