Greece will restrict the land border entry points into the country to just six, in order to better control the spread of coronavirus in view of the upsurge in cases in neighbouring Balkan countries, government spokesperson Stelios Petsas announced on Monday.
He explained that, while the only border crossing for tourists was that at Promachonas, where those wishing to cross the border must now produce a certified negative PCR test for Covid-19 taken within the last 72 hours, the other land border crossings had been open for essential travel, for Greek citizens and for those that had residence permits for people coming to work, such as seasonal farm workers.
“Since the epidemiological curve in the Balkan countries is rising, there is a greater chance that positive cases will pass on to the interior. For this reason, we have taken these decisions and these measures to restrict movement in order to better control the flows,” he said, adding that the government will be constantly assessing the effectiveness of the measures.
Petsas said the extended targeted testing at the Albanian border confirmed the findings of random samples, with eight arrivals testing positive out of a total of 866 in Kakavia and 170 out of 19,676 at Promachonas in July. In the last week, he added, a constantly increasing number of transits was observed in both directions at all 12 land border crossings apart from Promachonas, leading experts to recommend additional containment measures.
As of Wednesday, Petsas announced that overland entry or depature into and out of Greece for essential reasons will only be possible through the border crossings at Kakavia, Krystallopigi, Evzones, Promachonas, Nymphaia and Kipi.
In addition, Greek citizens and those with residence permits or holders of an expatriate ID will also be required to fill in a Passenger Locator Form (PLF). He appealed to Greek citizens to avoid non-essential travel to areas with a high epidemiological load, as was currently the case in the Balkans.
He also warned that farm workers who are currently in Greece and leave before August 4, 2020 will not have the right to return until further notice.