Greece orders test of unvaccinated tourist staff on islands

People visit the Parthenon temple on top of Acropolis hill in Athens, Greece on June 8, 2021. Photo taken on June 8, 2021. REUTERS / Alkis Konstantinidis / File Photo

ATHENS, July 15 (Reuters) – Unvaccinated workers at restaurants and tourism businesses on some of Greece’s main holiday islands will be regularly tested for COVID-19 after the Delta variant fueled an upsurge in infections, a Minister.

Mykonos, Santorini, Ios, Paros and the towns of Rethymno and Heraklion on the island of Crete have all seen a rapid increase in cases in recent days, Deputy Minister for Citizen Protection Nikos Hardalias told a conference Press.

Workers, along with ferry and cruise ship crews, will need to be tested twice a week from Saturday if they have not been vaccinated, he added.

The government was hoping for at least a partial revival of its crucial tourism industry over the summer, but has tightened restrictions as cases have spread.

This week, the government said patrons of indoor restaurants and bars would have to prove they had been vaccinated. Read more

Greece reported 2,794 new infections on Thursday, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 450,512. COVID-related deaths have reached 12,819.

Hospital admissions were low, said Vana Papaevangelou, a member of a health expert committee advising the government. But unvaccinated people over 50 were still at risk of becoming seriously ill if they contracted the virus, she added.

About 48% of Greek adults have been fully immunized. The government has said it wants to increase that number to at least 70% by the fall.

Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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