Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

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Rick
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Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby Rick » Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:38 pm

“Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, the Greek tourism minister urged Britons to travel to his country this summer as he claimed Greece is much safer than the UK with a lower number of coronavirus cases”

Presumably, budget airlines may be allowed to fly to the islands and mainland when seasonal hotels open on 1st July.

It seems that there is a requirement for an EU wide approach to pre-travel health screening, which is currently being explored.

https://www.express.co.uk/travel/articl ... -19-update

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Kilkis
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby Kilkis » Wed Apr 29, 2020 3:13 pm

As far as I can see there is only one pre-travel screening that will work. Every holiday maker would need to go into quarantine for 14 days before travelling. The quarantine facility would need to be at the airport. Everybody who works in the quarantine facility and everybody who works in the airport would need to be quarantined for 14 days in a separate facility before moving into their job. They would then not be allowed to leave for any reason. If they did leave they would need to go through the quarantine cycle again.

Pre-screening will not work with COVID-19. It is not like the 2003 SARS virus. Screening for the original SARS using thermometers and thermal imaging worked because people have the symptoms for many days before they become contagious. It is relatively easy to find them and isolate them before they can infect anyone. COVID-19 is the opposite - you start to become contagious before any detectable symptoms have emerged. Even an antigen test will not catch everybody because it only detects the virus when it is active. Someone could be in the early stage of infection and that infection would not be detected by any known screening method. A few days into the holiday they would become contagious and start infecting everyone around them. A few days after that they would develop symptoms and then be tested. At that point they could be isolated if the test was positive but it would be too late. A few days later all the people the first case infected would start infecting others, again without any symptoms and so on. Although any original cases and secondary cases within the holiday makers would go home there could be many secondary cases within the local community who came in contact with the infected holiday makers. They would then start spreading the infection wider in the local community.

Inviting visitors from plague island is total madness. Everything I hear in the villages around Chania is that they don't want holiday makers coming at all this year, not even from the mainland.

Warwick

chrissyg
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby chrissyg » Wed Apr 29, 2020 3:31 pm

Speaking from 'plague island' Warwick i am rather saddened to hear we are not welcome. Greece needs tourism badly and although the UK government have handled this badly, we have a huge population and the numbers of cases are falling dramatically because we are in lockdown and have been for 5 weeks. In my area in the south west there are hardly any new cases and we want to get all our economies back on track because if we dont we will not just have a bit of economic hardship, we will have more poverty and deaths in the long run. They even stopped a lot of surgery and cancer treatments because of this and all screening tests have stopped. Surely the greek economy is unstable enough already and may not survive if they have no tourism this summer. We are talking 2 months away and a lot can change by then.

chrissyg
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby chrissyg » Wed Apr 29, 2020 3:53 pm

Just to add, its a real shame about the antibody tests because i reckon it must be so widespread here in the uk that weve probably all had it by now. Lol.

Kilkis
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby Kilkis » Wed Apr 29, 2020 4:31 pm

I completely accept that people working in the tourist industry want it to start up again, Chrissyg and I agree that the Greek economy needs it. Germany has found that even a slight relaxation has caused R to rise significantly, however, and they might need to re-introduce a hard lockdown again a matter of days after relaxing it. Every government is taking first steps that they think will have minimum effect on R. If even that small change causes R to rise above 1.0 how can lockdown ever be released? If Germany cannot control relaxing rules with their resources it is very concerning. Allowing tourists in from areas with higher infection rates is the very last step.

I am sure people working in the tourist industry would make visitors welcome but look at it from the point of view of the rest of the population. You mention that the South West has hardly any new cases. Crete has zero for several weeks and throughout the whole crisis has only had 18 with one death on the whole island. Over half of the cases have been in Heraklion with the other three prefectures contributing a couple of cases each. The only way Crete gets an infection now is if it comes in from outside. Today Crete could probably return completely to normal life with no restrictions whatsoever internally provided nobody comes in from outside. That is not true of mainland Greece and it is very far from true for the UK. No government wants to differentiate regionally so Crete will go through the same slow relaxation as the rest of Greece and will be locked down again if R rises too much even if there are no cases here. It is understandable why a large part of the population do not want anybody coming here at all for any reason.

I accept that the UK has a bigger population but the Worldometer web site shows country by country data scaled for population, i.e. per 1 million population, in the right hand columns. When you compare that data you find Greece had 246 cases and 13 deaths per million population while the UK had 2,374 and 319 respectively. That is almost 10 times the number of cases and nearly 25 times the number of deaths per million population. That is a stunning difference. Also it could well be getting on for 2 months before the UK has got the number of daily cases down to a level where it could safely try to relax controls. You can't really put it down to population density since nearly half the whole Greek population live in the greater Athens area or Thessaloniki, which are both high density. You can't put it down to age factors since the UK has a younger demographic than Greece, i.e. 18 % over 65 compared to 21 %.

Warwick

PS Cornwall has a population slightly less than Crete and 473 case. Devon has a slightly bigger population than Crete and 658 cases. Somerset a bit lower population than Crete and 462 cases. Dorset quite a lot smaller population than Crete and 300 cases. From someone sat here with 18 cases and none active it doesn't make good reading although I am sure from where you are it seems wonderful compared to London.

PPS While it is true that nobody knows for sure, the UK Chief Medical Officer estimates between 10% and 20 %. I heard another epidemiologist, who has been studying the data, say that he has seen no convincing evidence that the infection rate is higher than 10 %.

Rick
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby Rick » Wed Apr 29, 2020 4:43 pm

Valid points made by Warwick, but Greece implies a determination for tourism to resume in July, even from “plague island”. (See comment by the Greek tourism minister below and source).

We’ll see what happens I guess.
Personally, I’ll be willing to quarantine for two weeks at my second home and comply with any other rules.

“Ideally, precautionary health measures should be decided on a Europe-wide level. We hope that the European Commission will demonstrate the necessary leadership capacity to expedite the talks and agreements. But even if this does not happen, we are willing to establish our own rules and, of course, try to reach agreements with source countries,” the Greek minister said.”

https://news.gtp.gr/2020/04/29/greece-s ... bloomberg/

chrissyg
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby chrissyg » Wed Apr 29, 2020 5:03 pm

Yes i know we are pretty bad as a country, i actually live in an area near Wales which is not densely populated and has had no new cases for a long while. But i do agree, we are the worst in Europe. I think telling the people a week before you lockdown that it will happen meant that everyone crammed together in supermarkets buying all the toilet roll spreading the virus, and events such as marathons, crufts and Cheltenham going ahead did not help much!!! Your point about tourism though, it has a huge effect on the countrys economy its not just a few greedy hotel owners and i think if you stop that for the whole year you are risking a lot more than bringing the virus back in. It will have a huge impact on peoples livelihoods. I have personally lost a lot of money this year but i think i will be able to cope, a lot of people wont. Plus, i hate the thought of people not welcoming the english when we have had a pretty bad time of it and we all want to get back to normal. If we are still in a bad state in July then i would totally understand but i am trying to be optimistic and thinking on a global or at least european level.

Kilkis
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby Kilkis » Wed Apr 29, 2020 5:12 pm

Rick wrote:...Personally, I’ll be willing to quarantine for two weeks at my second home and comply with any other rules...


I think allowing people who have second homes here to come providing they self isolate for 14 days would be reasonable. I don't see a real difference between allowing someone who is resident to come in and someone who is non-resident, but has a home here, to come in, provided both self isolate.

One of the two cases in Chania prefecture was someone who had a home on Crete and returned here from the UK. He did self isolate and presented for testing in the correct way when he developed symptoms. He was positive but not seriously ill so he continued self isolation in his home until he was clear. He did not infect anyone else as far as we can tell.

Tourists are very different. They don't have a home to isolate in. They would stay in hotels with a lot of intermingling amongst themselves and with locals.

I agree with you, Chrissyg, that the impact on tourism will be massive and that in turn will have a massive impact on the whole economy. I think whether that is worse than a possible resurgence of the virus and an inevitable return to lockdown is debatable. I don't pretend to know the answer but If it is possible to have the rest of the economy fully operational without tourism I think that is probably better than the risk of having to shut the whole economy down again. Still not good but least worst?

Warwick

chrissyg
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby chrissyg » Wed Apr 29, 2020 5:31 pm

Agreed. Its a balance and thats what our government is
saying about easing restrictions now or soon, we risk another wave and another lockdown. A balance between peoples livelihoods and economy, and risk of further deaths. I do get it, but with Greece it heavily relies on tourism above other stuff, and maybe worth the risk. Im no scientist or economist but i can see a lot of suffering further down the line if they dont get it right.
Personally, it is my second home in Crete as we are not retired yet, and it was fully booked for the summer, only one person has cancelled so far. I cant come out for very long at the moment anyway so would not be able to quarantine for 2 weeks. I feel that i am practically quarantined here to be honest and it is horrible, but, financially i am one of the lucky ones, working from home.

shine on
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby shine on » Wed Apr 29, 2020 6:06 pm

Kilkis wrote:As far as I can see there is only one pre-travel screening that will work. Every holiday maker would need to go into quarantine for 14 days before travelling. The quarantine facility would need to be at the airport. Everybody who works in the quarantine facility and everybody who works in the airport would need to be quarantined for 14 days in a separate facility before moving into their job. They would then not be allowed to leave for any reason. If they did leave they would need to go through the quarantine cycle again.

Pre-screening will not work with COVID-19. It is not like the 2003 SARS virus. Screening for the original SARS using thermometers and thermal imaging worked because people have the symptoms for many days before they become contagious. It is relatively easy to find them and isolate them before they can infect anyone. COVID-19 is the opposite - you start to become contagious before any detectable symptoms have emerged. Even an antigen test will not catch everybody because it only detects the virus when it is active. Someone could be in the early stage of infection and that infection would not be detected by any known screening method. A few days into the holiday they would become contagious and start infecting everyone around them. A few days after that they would develop symptoms and then be tested. At that point they could be isolated if the test was positive but it would be too late. A few days later all the people the first case infected would start infecting others, again without any symptoms and so on. Although any original cases and secondary cases within the holiday makers would go home there could be many secondary cases within the local community who came in contact with the infected holiday makers. They would then start spreading the infection wider in the local community.

Inviting visitors from plague island is total madness. Everything I hear in the villages around Chania is that they don't want holiday makers coming at all this year, not even from the mainland.

Warwick


Well said, totally agree. We have come this far to avoid it, and now it could become worse for Greece if they insist on inviting highly infected countries.

Voni
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby Voni » Wed Apr 29, 2020 6:33 pm

Realistically what tourist visiting for a holiday is going to self isolate for 14 days? They are on holiday and will feel safe on an island like Crete that is virus free. Let’s throw off the shackles of lockdown and enjoy our hols they will say.

Those visitIng their holiday homes or self catering - first stop the supermarket.

It’s not a case of being unwelcome just that practically the Greek health service is not equipped to deal with a large virus outbreak.

Good luck getting travel insurance that covers you for Covid-19.

chrissyg
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby chrissyg » Wed Apr 29, 2020 6:38 pm

If you still have quarantine by then i am pretty confident that tourists will not come.

Rick
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby Rick » Wed Apr 29, 2020 6:47 pm

Also being reported in Chania Post.....

http://www.chaniapost.eu/2020/04/29/gre ... tells-bbc/

Kilkis
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby Kilkis » Wed Apr 29, 2020 7:05 pm

A quote from the Chania Post article:

    He confirmed that this might involve face masks and keeping distances, rather than fewer passengers on planes.

If planes carry the same number of passengers as normal how can you distance? Everyone is crammed in like sardines all touching the same surfaces, breathing the same recycled air over and over again. It is impossible.

I also repeat what I said before, there does not exist any pre-flight screening that will stop infected passengers coming. It is an integral part of the virus, the way it develops and infects that no pre-flight screening test is possible. IF they develop a reliable antibody test and IF it is shown that after a defined number of days a person who is positive for the antibody test cannot infect anybody else and IF it can be shown that having antibodies provides reasonably long lasting immunity THEN it would be possible to allow people to come who have already had the disease and recovered. It would still not be safe to allow somebody to come who had never had it and that would be the majority of the population. I think the Tourism Minister is living in cloud cuckoo land.

Warwick

Maud
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Re: Britons urged to travel to Greece this summer

Postby Maud » Wed Apr 29, 2020 7:36 pm

I think the Theoharis interview was more in hope than in reality. He spoke about ‘better means’ to check people for Corvid 19 by July. He also spoke about tourists travelling to a country which had less cases of Corvid 19 than most.- The latter is true, but that won’t be the case if tourists, from all around the world, descend on Greece in two months time!

We should be on Crete now. Instead we are stuck in the SW of the U.K. We have friends stranded in their second home on Crete, and other friends, (who are in the same situation as us), and cannot get out to Greece to spend their summer there. I will confess than none of us are involved in the tourist industry in any way, therefore do not let out homes or have financial interests in holiday accommodation/tavernas’ etc, but I do have sympathy with such people (including non-Greeks), struggling through this Corvid19 crisis. The majority of my sympathy however is with our very dear Greek friends who have rooms to let, and tavernas to run! They have very little other income....apart from maybe a bit of farming.

You mention that you live in the SW of the U.K. where there are very few Corvid 19 cases Chrissyg, but you also say you are near the Welsh border. You will be well aware in that case that Cheltenham has had a spike in cases, - which is possibly due to the Cheltenham festival. (I dare say Guy will know more about this than me, seeing as he lives in Cheltenham). Where we live, in a National Park, NP wardens and police are checking up on anyone who looks like a visitor. Villagers are reporting such people to the police, plus reporting second home owners who come down to the area at weekends! Our National Park survives on tourism, but even locals in the business don’t want ‘outsiders’ here. There is little Covid 19 in our region, and we want to keep it that way. - By the same token many Greeks will feel the same, with their low Corvid 19 numbers.

I understand you have a rental property on Crete and want to see it utilised Chrissyg, but it probably isn’t how your Greek neighbours feel about it! They will feel the same way as the people in our village in the West Country. - The campsite in our village is closed, and all the second homes belonging to responsible people, and rental cottages are shut up......and nobody is in a rush to open them! It is better to be poor and alive than the ‘alternative.’

I accept that we have to find a balance between starting up businesses again and keeping ourselves safe from Corvid 19, but until there is a better way to stop the spread, (reliable tests, apps....or best of all a vaccine), then opening up a country with a low Corvid 19 head count to tourism seems a crazy thing to do. - And anyway....nobody is going to travel to Greece for a holiday if they have to go in to isolation for 14 days, and if they cannot get insurance, - even if beaches and tavernas are open and the Greek Government is welcoming them!


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