Greece restricts entry from southern African countries over new Covid-19 strain

Permission to enter Greece from countries in the southern part of Africa, where the so-called Botswana strain of the coronavirus has appeared, will be restricted to Greek or other nationals carrying out essential travel, the Health Committee said after meeting on Friday.

Following an alert by the European Union, several European countries are introducing travel restrictions after the appearance of virulent strain B.1.1.529 of SARS-CoV-2 for anyone travelling from the countries of Botswana, Eswatini (former Swaziland), Lesotho, Malaui, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Travellers will need to acquire a permit by the local Greek Embassy or embassies, consulates and consular representatives standing in for Greek authorities to travel to the country. In addition, travellers will need a molecular (PCR) test done within 72 hours prior to travel, regardless of vaccination status.

When they arrive in Greece, they will be subjected to a rapid antigen test, the committee said, while they will be required to serve a 10-day quarantine in a designated hotel. At the end of the quarantine they will be retested with a molecular (PCR) test.

There are no direct flights from these countries. Restrictions will go into effect at 06:00 on Saturday (Nov. 27).