Mandatory mask requirements for air travel to be scrapped from May 16

Travelers wearing masks on a plane | CREDIT: GETTY

Mandatory face mask requirements in airports and on flights in Europe are set to be scrapped, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said on Wednesday.

The new recommendations will come into effect from May 16, 2022.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky said in a statement.

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Greece lifted COVID-19 restrictions at the beginning of May for foreign and domestic flights, its civil aviation authority said, ahead of the summer tourism season that officials hope will see revenues bouncing back from the pandemic slump.

To fly in or out of the country, travelers were previously required to show either a vaccination certificate, a certificate saying they had recovered from coronavirus or a negative test.

The summer tourism season typically begins after the Greek Orthodox Easter, which was on April 24. Greece is expecting high numbers of visitors this year, with officials predicting revenues reaching 80% of 2019 levels.

That was a record year before the pandemic brought travel to a halt.

With infections waning, restaurants and retail shops returned to 100% capacity, allowing customers in without proof of vaccination but with a mask.

Greece confirmed 6,416 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, the National Public Health Organisation (EODY) said on Tuesday, bringing all confirmed infections since the pandemic began to 3,371,051.

Twenty-seven infected with Covid-19 died in the last 24 hours and there were 196 Covid-19 patients on ventilators.

Of the daily total, the number of possible reinfections in the last 24 hours was 651, while the total number of reinfections since the pandemic began was estimated at 126,929 (3.6% pct of the total positive results).

The latest deaths increased the total number of pandemic victims to 29,444. Of these, 95.6 pct had an underlying condition and/or were aged 70 or over.

The median age of the 196 patients on ventilators was 71 years and 92.9 pct had an underlying condition and/or were aged 70 or over. Of the total, 101 (51.53 pct) were unvaccinated or partly vaccinated and 95 (48.47 pct) were fully vaccinated.

In total, 4,635 patients have been discharged from ICUs since the pandemic began.

In addition, 105 Covid-19 patients were admitted to hospital in the last 24 hours (daily change: -3.67 pct). The average admission of patients with Covid-19 to hospitals over the last seven days was 127.

The median age of new infections was 36 years old (range: 0.2 to 112 years), while the median age of the deceased was 79 years old (range: 0.2 to 106 years).

READ MORE: e.wave X: The new “Made in Greece” electric car.