Sunseekers have flocked to Greek beaches and tourist spots as much of the country’s lockdown restrictions are lifted.
After months of stay-at-home orders due to the Coronavirus, Greece has re-opened its famed museums and tourist destinations while relaxing restrictions on movement and shopping on the mainland in recent days.
Athenians were able to gather to watch the sun set on Areopagus Hill, with the Lycabettus Hill in the background on Saturday evening.
Others flocked to nearby beaches to enjoy the May sunshine and swim in the sea.
People were seen enjoying a day out at Kavouri Beach, some 20km south of Athens, this weekend.
Greece reacted early to curb the spread of Covid-19 but the pandemic wreaked havoc for international travel, dealing a damaging blow to the country’s tourism sector.
Greece – a destination favored by British holidaymakers – was put on a six-week lockdown in March in a bid to slow the spread of deadly Coronavirus.
Businesses were shut as soon as the country recorded its first Covid-19 death and travel to the islands, such as Mykonos and Santorini, was restricted.
But organised beaches – those with ticketed entrances and organised sunbeds – reopened on May 16 following official advice.
Normally year-round hotels and restaurants are to resume operation in Greece on June 1 with strict distancing rules.
Two fatalities from COVID-19 were reported in Greece during the most recent 24-hour period, bringing the death toll to 171, health authorities announced Saturday.
Another three new infections have been recorded since Friday afternoon, raising the nation’s total to 2,876. The number of patients on ventilators stands at 20, while 99 have left intensive care.
Greek authorities say they have performed 152,998 tests for the disease.
Cyprus will reopen its airports to commercial flights on June 9 but British tourists will be banned from entering the country.
Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said that airports would reopen to commercial flights after nearly three months of lockdown.
Britain and Russia are the island’s two largest tourist markets but both are not on the initial lists amid concerns that the pandemic has not been sufficiently contained in those countries.
Meanwhile, Spain has told foreign tourists that the country ‘will be waiting for them’ from July.
Spain’s decision to open the holiday mecca in just over a month’s time, comes a day after the UK government urged Britons not to book their holidays as they will be forced to quarantine for 14 days on their return.
Mr Sanchez told the nation yesterday: ‘Spain receives each year more than 80 million visitors.’
‘That’s why I’m announcing to you that from the month of July the entry of international tourism to Spain will restart in safety.’
‘Foreign tourists can now start planning their holidays here.’
Whether Britons will choose to take advantage of Spain’s easing of lockdown remains to be seen.
The government’s strict quarantine regimen will come into force on June 8.
Home Secretary Priti Patel yesterday confirmed that all arrivals to the UK must self-isolate for 14 days on landing.