On Monday Greek authorities reported 453 new coronavirus cases, which is the highest single-day rise since the end of lockdown in May. In addition, the National Public Health Organization (EODY) also reported six more deaths over the past 24 hours.
According to the reports, of these new infections 95 are linked to known clusters. 184 were recorded at the new Kara Tepe refugee camp on Lesvos Island, and a further 25 were located at the country’s entry points.
As of Monday, Greece has 15,595 cases with 344 fatalities. Athens officials are suspending all cultural events and concerts were suspended, and indoor theaters and cinemas are now closed. New measures are expected.
In the meanwhile, Greece’s tourism officials and business stakeholders are full steam ahead planning for welcoming even more tourists. The Greek Ministry of Tourism, the GNTO, and most Hellenic hotelier and travel associations act as if the pandemic does not even exist. While no one thinks the crisis will last forever, spending resources and spinning wheels into the unknown seems unwise even for the taxi driver in Ierapetra on Crete.
Outside entities and multinationals seem to be operating in a vacuum as well. German national carrier Lufthansa has announced expanded services for 2021 to Corfu, Chania/Crete, Mykonos, Kos, Kavala/Thrace and Preveza/Peloponnese, as well as other destinations bitterly affected by COVID-19.
Cruise lines have restarted in the Med as well. Costa Cruises’ Costa Diadema was just announced as the second ship operated by the cruise line with resumed services in the Mediterranean. TUI became the first major cruise line to port at Mykonos, and the media is going crazy advertising for Greece and Turkey travel deals like those on TravelSupermarket.
The implications are clear. The redux of travel and tourism in Greece and elsewhere is about stock prices. Look at what capital.com has to say about Carnival Cruise Line shares this year. There’s a direct correlation between the stock climbing out of Davey Jones’ locker, and the moment cruise congolmerates began announcing new sailings. It’s as if no one can read the writing on the wall.
News the Czech Republic’s health minister Adam Vojtech resigned amid criticism of the government’s handling of a surge in coronavirus cases, should be an indicator of things to come. In countries where the infection rates were minimized, a second wave now catches the weary citizenry in a corporate/governmental crucible of greed. There is an argument for corporate interests actually causing the second wave of infections. Take Greece as an example. Why should ordinary citizens fear and use a mask, when their leadership welcomes infections with wide open arms?
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to most people, 300,000 seafarers are stranded out to see on account of COVID-19 regulations and international governmental inconsistencies. You read that correctly. A floating population of about 20% of the 1.6 million seafarers cannot come ashore anywhere. One unfortunate sea captain who suffered a heart attack, could not even be air lifted to save his life. To make matters worse, he could not even be buried in a timely manner because of the restricitons.
But TUI can deliver a good German pensioner to the Aquila Rithymna Beach hotel in Rethymno, Crete for the low-low price of €1,886.60 for two persons, at half-board, 7 nights, flights included. Talk about a dichotomy and a paradox rolled into a 2020 reality. The research is not even in, and so-called leaders are setting up for a “day after” celebration that may never come. Take airline travel, for instance. A new study reveals that current airline measures are probably not effective in stemming the spread of the disease. This raises the question, “Who gave the go-ahead on international flights, and why?” The answer is pretty obvious.
How can these officials begin to plan for 2021 without first having a firm grasp on the current situation? In the United States, there are hundreds of conflicting ideas, fears, and shaky strategies as to how to best protect the public from this virus.
The CDC, the White House, the World Health Organization, pharmaceutical giants, and just about every world leader you can mention have different ideas and understanding of this virus. And nobody seems to even know exactly how it is spread, or the long term effects on patients who survive. In the UK, one of the countries that sends the most tourists to Greece, top science adviser Sir Patrick Vallance warns the country may see 50,000 new cases per day if the current trend continues.
TUI UK is offering 7 nights at Roda Beach Village for £341.34pp flying out of Gatwick, just in case you are a Brit evacuating to Greece because of the rising infections and need a homeport until you find a permanent flat on Corfu. Just pray the Greeks don’t wipeout after riding the corporate COVID wave.