Hospitality staff on Greek islands to undergo weekly coronavirus tests


Unvaccinated hospitality staff will now be required to undergo weekly coronavirus tests, said Greece's Deputy Minister for Civil Protection and Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias  on Thursday during a press briefing.

Hardalias said the unvaccinated employees in food and tourism sectors in six regions in Greece - including Mykonos, Santorini and Paros - will have to undergo two coronavirus tests per week as of Saturday.

The announcement comes following a sharp spike in infections in the last week largely attributed to the Delta mutation of the virus which his by far the most contagious.

Hardalias said the new rule included the regional units of Mykonos, Rethymno and Iraklio (the latter two on Crete), and the towns proper on the islands of Ios, Thera (Santorini) and Paros.

Employees in food and tourism sectors - including passenger ships - who have not been vaccinated will be administered a rapid test and a self-test every week, and the results will be entered in the Ergani labor platform. National Public Health Organization mobile units will be sent to these areas to provide testing, Hardalias said.

The minister provided the infection rates for these regions between July 7 and 14: On Mykonos, from 77 on July 7 to 318 on July 14; in Rethymno, from 384 to 782; in Iraklio, from 310 to 878; in Ios, from 9 to 55; on Santorini, from 24 to 56; and on Paros, from 9 to 72.

"We can avoid taking specific restrictive measures if we all coordinate [...] and isolate the clusters and spread in those regions," Hardalias said. He added that the rules are not meant to target specific businesses or manners of entertainment or having fun, "which we all need," but it's necessary to observe certain measures in order to protect the public.

Hardalias also announced that camping sites would require a negative rapid or PCR test unvaccinated staff and arriving clients, and to be subjected to weekly tests (staff will need to take two tests per week). In addition, no visitors will be allowed except for emergencies.

READ: Ionian Islands Lead Vaccination Race In Greece