- Holidaymakers warned to avoid Aegean Islands.
- Spike of COVID-19 cases reported on Greek tourist islands.
- In 14 days, more than 500 COVID-19 cases have been detected there.
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has warned holidaymakers against travel to Greece’s southern Aegean Islands after officials reported a spike in COVID-19 cases there.
Greece has attracted large number of visitors to its 13 islands, including Mykonos and Santorini, promoting them as “COVID-free” destinations, but now, travel to the area can be done literally only at ones own risk.
The ECDC travel map is a five-tiered system in which the dark red color – which is how the southern islands of the Aegean Sea are painted from today – means that in 14 days more than 500 cases of infection of the dangerous disease have been detected there.
The Greek government opened the islands to tourism in the spring of 2021 in hopes of rebuilding the local economy after a devastating period of travel restrictions.
While 31.3 million tourists visited Greece in 2019, that number dropped by 76.5% to just 7.4 million in 2019, according to the Institute of the Association of Greek Tourism Businesses.
Greek officials have yet to panic though, and Manolis Markopoulos, president of the Rhodes Hoteliers’ Association, said the tourism industry is “waiting for the markets to react” to the ECDC’s updated estimate before responding.
Another popular Greek resort, the island of Crete, received a similar “super-dangerous” status a week ago.