If your upcoming travel plans include a visit to Greece, take note that the Greek Health Ministry has just announced changes to its entry requirements for all international travelers.
All foreign visitors over the age of 12, regardless of their vaccination status, will need to provide negative results from a COVID-19 PCR test taken within 48 hours of arrival in the Hellenic Republic. The new measure is set to take effect on Sunday, December 19.
“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. Excluded from the measure are travellers who have stayed in the countries for less than 48 hours,” reads the Greek Ministry of Health’s announcement.
Previously, inbound international travelers with proof of full vaccination were exempted from pre-departure testing requirements, as were those who could provide proof of recovery from COVID-19 within the previous 30 to 180 days.
Meanwhile, unvaccinated travelers were required to supply either a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival or a rapid antigen test taken no more than 48 hours before arrival.
Now, the antigen option is off the table; the time frame for valid PCR tests has been condensed, and the new pre-travel testing measures apply to vaccinated, unvaccinated and recovered visitors alike.
For travelers coming from the U.S., this update to Greece’s entry restrictions is likely to present something of a challenge. Passengers need to have their negative test results in hand before being allowed to board their plane.
Even assuming that you plan to fly nonstop from the East Coast, say New York, you’re looking at about 10 hours in the air, according to travelmath.com. And, if you have to take a connecting flight to an international gateway, you could be starting your journey some 18 to 24 hours before arriving at the destination, Running with Miles pointed out.
Over the past few weeks, the Mediterranean destination has been experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases, as is charted on the government’s tracking website. According to Schengen Visa Info News, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has confirmed five cases of the Omicron variant in Greece.
As has been the case since July, all visitors and residents are required to provide either a vaccination certificate, proof of recent recovery or a timely negative COVID-19 test in order to enter indoor public venues or to take long-distance public transportation.
For the latest insight on travel around the world, check out this interactive guide:
For more information, visit gr.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information.