Flights from UK to Greece can resume on July 15

Greece’s government has announced that direct flights from the United Kingdom to all airports in Greece can resume on July 15.

Government spokesman Stelios Petsas said on Monday the decision was made “in cooperation with the British Government and after the recommendation of experts”.

Greece had previously banned all flights from Britain due to the extent of the coronavirus spread there.

Britons are among the top tourist visitors to Greece, and the country is eager to ensure it can salvage whatever it can from this year’s summer tourism season.

The sector accounts for around 20% of Greece’s economy.

Direct flights from Sweden have also been banned until at least July 15.

Mr Petsas said Greece was still “watching the epidemiological data” from Sweden, and would make announcements depending on how the situation there evolves.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>(PA Graphics)</figcaption>
(PA Graphics)

Meanwhile, Portuguese officials rebuked the British government over its decision to exclude Portugal from a relaxation of travel restrictions.

The UK Government announced last Friday that from July 10 it will scrap a requirement for people arriving from dozens of countries to spend 14 days in isolation.

Portugal was not on the list, however, apparently because of its relatively high infection rate.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Monday that authorities should “take into account a range of criteria and not focus on just one”, which can distort the picture of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Costa said “people should feel safer” in Portugal than in the UK.

Portuguese officials argue that in other measurements of the battle against Covid-19, Portugal is doing better than Britain.

The UK has reported 66 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, for example, while Portugal has recorded 16 per 100,000.

Also, Portugal officially has 426 cases per 100,000 while the UK has 429, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

British visitors are a cornerstone of the key Portuguese tourism sector, and the British decision angered many people.

Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva labelled the decision “absurd”.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Indian health workers collect nasal swabs in Gauhati, India (Anupam Nath/AP)</figcaption>
Indian health workers collect nasal swabs in Gauhati, India (Anupam Nath/AP)

Elsewhere, India has overtaken Russia to become the third worst-affected nation by the coronavirus after reporting 24,248 new cases on Monday.

India has now confirmed 697,413 cases, including 19,693 deaths. Russia has 680,283 cases.

The US has had the most cases, with nearly 2.9 million. Brazil is second, with over 1.6 million.

Indian authorities late on Sunday withdrew a planned reopening of the famed Taj Mahal monument after new cases were detected in the area.

India’s Culture Ministry had decided to reopen all monuments across the country on Monday after more than three months with a cap on the number of visitors and mandatory wearing of face masks.

After a strict nationwide lockdown, India has eased restrictions in most of the country except for the highest-risk areas.

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