Greece to scrap negative COVID test demand for travellers

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A woman wearing a protective face mask makes her way in front of the Caryatids, the sculpted female figures supporting the porch of the ancient Erechtheion temple, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Athens, Greece, January 4, 2022. REUTERS/Louiza Vradi

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ATHENS, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Greece will allow tourists with a European vaccination certificate to enter the country without having to show a negative test for COVID-19 from Feb. 7, the tourism and health ministries said on Friday.

The Mediterranean country, which relies heavily on tourism, has been gradually easing travel restrictions initially imposed to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Under the rules now in force, air passengers, including children above the age of five, have to show a rapid antigen test taken 24 hours before arrival or a PCR test no more than 72 hours old to enter Greece.

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But a valid digital European Union vaccination certificate will suffice from Feb. 7, Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias said, adding that the country expects summer tourists to start arriving from March 1, earlier than in past years.

"Greece has shown remarkable resilience sending a message of safety to our country's visitors in the past two years. It will do the same this year," said Kikilias.

Random tests are conducted at airports and if the test result is positive, travellers must quarantine for five days.

Portugal also announced on Thursday it will drop a requirement for a negative test for travellers. read more

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Reporting by Renee Maltezou and Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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