Greece further amends COVID travel rules for foreigners

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People wearing protective face masks make their way on Syntagma square after the Greek government imposed mandatory COVID vaccinations for people aged 60 and over, in Athens, Greece, December 1, 2021. REUTERS/Louiza Vradi

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ATHENS, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Foreign travellers can opt to show a rapid antigen test or a PCR test to enter Greece, the country said on Thursday, amending a rule it announced only the day before to help curb the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Health authorities said on Wednesday that the measure - which will be in effect from Dec. 19 - would require a PCR test no more than 48 hours old.

Previously, proof of vaccination or recovery from COVID-19 or negative testing were necessary to travel to Greece.

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On Thursday, slightly broader options for the testing were announced - with all travellers aged over five needing to show either a PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before their arrival or a rapid test 24 hours before arriving.

"The Omicron variant prompted our country to take one-off measures for foreign visitors," government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou said.

He said the restrictions would apply for the Christmas period and were aimed to delay the spread of the pandemic to give Greek people more time to get booster shots.

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Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Alison Williams

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