Guardian: Greece plans Covid-19 immunity certificates for tourism

27 April 2020
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British media outlet The Guardian and its correspondent in Greece, Helena Smith, focuses on the initiatives and actions the Greek Tourism Ministry plans to take in its efforts to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on a sector that bore the brunt of the global lockdown.

Packed pools, beaches and tour buses, as well as middle seats on planes, hotel minibars and scrums at airport check-ins, may all be a thing of the past as Europe’s tourism industry attempts to reimagine the holiday in the wake of the coronavirus.

Travel will take place only under “specific new rules”, Greece’s tourism minister has said as he prepares to propose ways of salvaging the sector with his EU counterparts in the era of Covid-19 on Monday.

“If we are to think of the possibility of travelling this year it has to be under specific new rules,” says Harry Theoharis, the country’s tourism minister , whose economy is especially dependent on the sector. “We have to have new rules for hotels, new rules for beaches, new rules for pools, new rules for breakfast buffets, new rules for tour buses.”

How the regulations will work, and what they will look like, in Europe at least, will be the focus of talks between EU tourism ministers on Monday. Health and safety measures, including Covid-19 immunity certificates, will be high on the agenda. The possibility of passengers being subject to temperature checks and pre-flight blood tests is also likely to be raised.

“I will be pushing for agreement on a common set of [EU] rules,” Theoharis told the Guardian. “We need them if we are to start moving people from one country to another by road, air or sea. Temporary rules that will have to make economic sense. If, for example, you can only fly with 10 people on a plane to be deemed safe then obviously there will be no flight,” he said.

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