Greek Health Ministry Seeks Police Aid to Combat False Bedbug Crisis Hoax Targeting Tourists

bed bugs athens hotel

Greece's health ministry has called upon the police to help address the actions of hoaxers who attempted to frighten foreign tourists staying in Athens' short-term rental apartments by spreading false information about a bedbug crisis.

The ministry issued a statement clarifying that the posters, adorned with fake logos from the ministry and Athens municipality, were completely fabricated. The posters, written in misspelled English and addressed to "dear visitors," falsely claimed that health authorities had ordered the evacuation of local "private guesthouses" to protect Greek tenants' public health due to a non-existent bedbug infestation. The posters threatened visitors with a 500-euro fine for not vacating their accommodation and wished them a pleasant stay in Greece.

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Greek Health Ministry Seeks Police Aid to Combat False Bedbug Crisis Hoax Targeting Tourists 1

Alongside a crisis in the cost of living, Athens and other parts of Greece are grappling with housing issues largely caused by the proliferation of short-term rental apartments, primarily catering to foreign visitors. This trend has led to soaring long-term rental costs for Greeks, making many unable to afford residential areas in central Athens. Property prices are also escalating due to the "golden visa" program, which grants residence to foreign property investors. Tourism is a crucial driver of Greece's economy, contributing a significant portion of its annual output, and 2023 is anticipated to be a record-breaking year for tourist arrivals.

On Tuesday, the health ministry reported that it had alerted the police to take necessary action against the hoaxers. The ministry emphasized that no one has the right to terrorize or misinform the public on matters related to public health. Unlike France, Greece has not encountered any significant issues with the bloodsucking insects causing distress in recent times.

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