The government in Athens has submitted to the European Commission proposed plans for COVID-19 tests, full airplanes, and no 14-day quarantine for travelers. The news comes as the commission issues a “Europe needs a rest” plan that many feel is no plan at all.
Greece officials are pushing for a very swift return to the freedom of movement in Europe with the goal of opening up travel between EU countries by June 15th. A story via Politico Europe’s Brussels Playbook tells of the “alleged” bigger plan for restoring free movement, but the challenge facing Greece and other EU nations seems to be loneliness.
The Politico reporters say Athens has submitted a non-paper aimed at “re-opening travel between EU countries by 15 June, where possible.” Meanwhile, here on the island of Crete locals are worried that a rush of tourists so early in the game may cause a second wave to engulf the one country that has so-far flattened the curve better than most other European nations. And with little or no guidance from Brussels, the atmosphere of confidence is eroding fast. Saving summer vacations seems months off for many experts.
The EU tourism news talks of preventing nationality bias, and creating fair protocols for a swift return to normal. And forms of quarantine are definitely top of the list of “no go” items on every country’s list for saving summer vacations. Guidelines released yesterday by the commission are wordy, say a lot about what happened, but not much about regulating what will happen. The commission language is mostly redundant, as follows:
“In its risk assessment, the ECDC concludes that lifting measures too quickly or in an uncoordinated manner, without appropriate monitoring and health system capacities in place, may cause a sudden resurgence of sustained community transmission.”
Meanwhile, in Athens officials don’t advocate a total reopening of borders but call for a “common understanding” instead. At the EU level, there still seems to be a lot of confusion and vagueness as to what the ultimate plan will look like. Travelers must be tested for either the coronavirus or for antibodies in the three days before making a trip, according to the news. However, travel between certain regions may not require such testing.
Finally, Greece’s Civil Protection announced yesterday that organized beaches with umbrellas and sunbeds will open again to the public as of Saturday, May 16, 2020. You can catch the rest of that story here on Keep Talking Greece.
So, it seems the question of whether or not the EU is going to lead in solving this crisis is still up in the air. The countries in the bloc seem to be going it alone still, in the fight against a disease about which much is still unknown.