The Greek government released its list of approved countries whose citizens will be allowed to enter Greece on June 15th.
To the surprise of many, as evident by comments on our recent Facebook post, the United States and Canada were not on the list of phase 1 countries.
As we have noted in past articles, this is the first phase of Greece’s re-opening that has been carefully planned by the country’s health and medical officials.
The Ministry of Tourism and related entities have done a remarkable job creating a plan called “Restart Tourism” that includes dozens of new health and wellness regulations to protect both the country’s citizens, as well as the incoming travelers.
Fortunately, politics took a back seat in Greece as Ministry officials with whom we’ve had interaction constantly referred to the country’s doctors and health professionals and their analysis of every nation’s epidemiological data on a case by case basis.
That the United States and Canada are not on the list is a result of both country’s current Coronavirus statistics, which include the well-known “curve” that doctors look at, numbers of infected people daily, death rates, and a host of other information.
If one country made the list and another didn’t– it’s nothing personal against the country or its citizens.
One country that made the list is raising the most eyebrows— and that’s China. This is a decision I disagree with, having followed the news and believing— like many experts do— that the information and statistics that China is releasing to the world is probably false. I do believe that given China’s notorious record of releasing false information, the country should have been excluded until a clear picture of their stats has emerged.
I have spoken with a dozen different people at various ministries in Greece handling the re-opening of the economy and the tourist sectors and these decisions are based exclusively on statistics– and the protection of the Greek citizenry and those traveling to the country. I have also spoken with various people in the airline sector.
What we do know is that the next phase of opening will take place on July 1st. Prior to that date, a second list of nations will be announced whose citizens will be permitted entry into Greece.
Health officials will scour data throughout the month of June and monitor each country’s situation again, on a case by case basis.
It’s impossible to know whether or not the United States and Canada will be included on the July 1st list and I am not making any assumptions or predictions.
I can share, however, some information that has led me to believe that if the current disease numbers continue their course in both countries, it is likely (again, just my humble opinion based on the facts and knowledge I have) that Canadians will be permitted to enter Greece beginning July 1, while Americans will have to wait until the third phase on July 15th.
I have compared the stats of the 29 nations that have been green-lighted alongside stats in the United States and Canada and given the trajectory of each country’s stats, I do believe Canada will be on course to get the green light on July 1, but the United States will have to wait, as the country still doesn’t have the disease under control and numbers continue to fluctuate in various regions.
That said, it was also telling that Delta Airlines announced the cancellation of its July 1-15 flights, resuming non-stop service to the Greek capital on July 16th. This doesn’t mean they might not cancel again. What it tells me is that the heads of Delta who manage flight operations are probably in discussions with people in Greece and know a lot more than I do.
Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis also outlined his country’s position during a web event hosted by the Brookings Institution and Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia.
“It is unlikely that the (US) will be on our list, given the data that we currently have,” Mitsotakis said. “We will start with countries that have similar epidemiological data with Greece. And we expect to gradually ramp up direct flights to our islands.”
As a summary– if you have plans to travel to Greece in July and are a U.S. or Canadian national– don’t despair. Hang tight a bit longer. I do believe– again, I reiterate this is my humble opinion based on the stats and data that I have at my disposal and my purely unscientific analysis– that Canadians will probably be on the July 1 list and the United States will follow on the July 15 list.
Of course, this pandemic is so fluid and things could change from one day to the next. So the best option if you have patience, is to wait a bit longer and watch everything unfold.
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