Greece is sending additional police to popular tourist destinations, including the islands of Mykonos and Ios, as Covid infections blamed on the Delta variant surge.
Officials are worried about local businesses that do not adhere to virus-related restrictions during the summer tourist season peak.
Greek officials say they are considering imposing tighter restrictions on Mykonos and Ios.
“The Delta variant has meant that every country is dealing with the fourth wave now and not, as expected, in November,” Greek tourism minister Harry Theoharis told The Guardian. “While hotels and family-type venues are implementing protocols diligently, there’s more congestion than we would like to see in bars, especially among the younger crowd … so we are trying to ensure some balance is kept.”
On Mykonos, the number of police sent to the island has tripled, to 186, compared with last year at the same time.
Mr Theoharis said tourism-related revenue surged by 400 per cent in June compared with the same period in 2020.
“We have made up for some lost ground … about 140,000 visitors from the UK have flown in since July 19. They are coming in big numbers, although there is still some way to go. Britain is an important market.”
In May, the UAE and Greece agreed to a travel corridor. It means that vaccinated passengers do not have to quarantine in either country on arrival.
More than five million people in Greece have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.
“We’re seeing a fourth wave but no wave at all in terms of hospital admissions and stress on the health system,” Mr Theoharis said. “There is a shift in the pattern of the disease and that requires a shift in mindset as to how we respond to it.”