Tourism is Not Causing Covid-19 Spike in Greece, Says Minister
The increase of Covid-19 cases in Greece is not related to tourism, Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a conference focused on the future of Greek hotels in the post-Covid era, held by the Tourism Ministry and the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, Theoharis presented data and said that the percentage of positive coronavirus (Covid-19) cases that have been “imported” through Greece’s borders was “extremely small”.
According to data presented by the minister, during the first 10 days of July, 105,609 arrivals were tested at Greece’s border points and only 74 positive cases recorded. “The positivity rate is 0.07 percent,” he said.
Theoharis stressed that based on the 105,609 test samples, authorities found that the positivity rate at the country’s land borders is “practically insignificant” at 0.01 percent. At ports, the positivity rate was found to be 0.07 percent and at airports 0.09 percent.
“As expected, tourists from countries such as the United States, for example, with the highest number of vaccinations, had the fewest cases,” the minister said, adding that the average age of people who tested positive for coronavirus at Greece’s border points is 35 (with 58 percent being male and 42 percent female).
“The insignificant rate of positive cases at the country’s border points clearly shows us that the increase in Covid-19 cases in Greece is not related to tourism,” Theoharis highlighted, stressing that the country’s vaccination program must pick up speed.
Underlining the importance of protecting public health, the minister urged residents to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
“I am afraid that there are many who have not realized that this summer Greek tourism depends on the fastest possible progress of vaccinations,” he stressed.
The Greek tourism minister underlined that already 5.3 million citizens in Greece have been vaccinated with the first dose, while some 4.3 million are already fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
“However, during the summer, at least 70 percent of adult Greeks must be vaccinated. This is our goal and this is our duty… The only sure path to freedom is vaccines. We can not envision the future of Greek tourism if we do not shield the present,” he said.