The Greek plan calls for the entire population of 40 islands of less than 1,000 people to be vaccinated at one time. This actually happened, for example, on Kastellorizo, a small island near the Turkish coast inhabited by 500 adults.
It is logistically convenient as vaccines and medical personnel only need to be dispatched once. In addition, the Greek government wants to then promote the islands as an ideal location for a coronavirus-free holiday. It is not without reason that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was the first leader to push the European Union to obtain a vaccination passport in January.
The need is great in Greece, where the tourism sector usually accounts for more than 20 percent of the economy. Last year, the number of tourists decreased by three-quarters compared to 2019, and the already fragile Greek economy shrank by more than 8 percent.
‘To slow down’
Greece already signed an agreement with Israel in February, whereby Israelis who hold a “green card” through vaccination, pass a negative test or have antibodies, are free to enter the country. Mitsotakis now also wants to conclude such agreements with, among other things, the United Kingdom and the United States, along with Germany, the most important suppliers of tourists.
You can’t go fast enough for the Greeks. “Europe is moving very slowly,” Minister Theocharis told the online magazine. Politico. “There must be political will in all countries to achieve this as quickly as possible.”
For now, infections in Greece are still high. Hospitals are full and the country has been in lockdown of varying severity since the beginning of November. However, the Minister of Tourism is optimistic about the summer. Bookings from the British, who can go on vacation again from May 17, have already started pouring in. “This year is going to be better than last year anyway.”