Coronavirus: Is Greece safe for holidays as first case confirmed? FCO travel advice

Coronavirus is rapidly taking over the planet, spreading beyond the borders of the Chinese epicentre, to 43 countries around the world. One of the latest countries to confirm sufferers is holiday favourite Greece. Is it safe to travel to the country?


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A spokesperson for the Greek health minister announced that the first patient the country had seen was a 38year-old woman who had recently travelled to northern Italy.

She is currently receiving treatment in a hospital in Thessaloniki and is in good condition.

The news came after Greek authorities announced the measures they would take should the country face a mass outbreak.

The detailed plans to shut down public areas and put in place travel restrictions.

According to local news, pharmacies in Thessaloniki have been running out of face masks.

The vice president of Thessaloniki Pharmacists Association Anna Sidiropoulou told the Athens Macedonia News Agency it was the result of “unjustified panic” amongst the public.

The FCO has not put in place any warning to say that travellers should avoid Greece, or updated its travel advice at this time.

However, each time a new case has been confirmed the FCO has been issuing advice for holidaymakers destined for an infected country.

In a general statement regarding COVID-19, the FCO issued a statement saying: “If you’re concerned about the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on your existing travel plans, check with your airline, tour operator, cruise line or other transport and accommodation providers as applicable.


“Individual providers may also have their own requirements for customers or passengers to meet.”

Meanwhile, Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said: “We are ready to do whatever is necessary to protect public health.

COVID-19 made its way into Greece from northern Italy, which is experiencing one of the worst outbreaks outside of Asia.

At the time of writing the current number of confirmed cases is 374.

Since Friday 12 sufferers have died.


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The government has imposed a mass quarantine on northern parts of the country.

Elsewhere in Europe, the disease has been confirmed in France, Sweden, Spain, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Belgium, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland.

There are currently 13 known cases within the UK.

The World Health Organisation has now declared a public health emergency of international concern – the highest level of alarm that can be raised.

Authorities globally have been issuing advice to citizens urging them to practise good hand hygiene. This includes the use of soap and water and utilising hand sanitiser.

The World Health Organisation has also announced an update in how the disease is being tackled.

It outlines work as part of a partnership with the European Centre of Disease Prevention and Control, as well as shunning the use of the word “pandemic.”

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said: Yesterday, the number of new cases reported outside China exceeded the number of new cases in China for the first time. The sudden increases of cases in Italy, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Korea are deeply concerning.

“There are now cases linked to Iran in Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait and Oman. There are now cases linked to Italy in Algeria, Austria, Croatia, Germany, Spain and Switzerland.

“Yesterday a joint team between WHO and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control arrived in Rome to review the public health measures that have been put in place and provide technical support.”

He adds: “Using the word pandemic carelessly has no tangible benefit, but it does have a significant risk in terms of amplifying unnecessary and unjustified fear and stigma and paralysing systems.

“It may also signal that we can no longer contain the virus, which is not true. We are in a fight that can be won if we do the right things.”

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