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Published on Thursday, February 18, 2021

Greece hopeful of 'semi-normal' summer as travel talks begin with UK

Greece Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis has spoken of his hopes of a 'semi normal' summer after confirming talks are underway between Greek and UK officials over ways to reopen travel.

He said 'technical discussions' have begun, with vaccination passports understood to be among the topics under discussion.

While at a preliminary stage, Theoharis said he was hopeful an agreement could be reached over how travel can resume between Greece and the UK.

"We certainly hope that by summer, with the vaccination programme underway and the UK one of the leading countries in that respect, the situation will be much better than now," he said.

"Hopefully, with the vaccination programme going forward and the summer limiting the spread of the disease we can have a semi-normal summer."

Speaking on BBC Radio 4, the Tourism Minister said Greece was in 'very preliminary' talks with UK officials over how travel could re-start.

He described the talks as 'technical discussions', adding he was 'very hopeful that we can reach some kind of solution'.

Asked about the introduction of vaccination passports, he said : "The logic is that we don't want to limit travel only to those who are vaccinated.

"But since we are currently mandating that before travelling somebody has to have a negative test result, obviously that is a waste of resources if people are vaccinated

"The need for this testing could be limited by the vaccination certificate."

For those people who have chosen to receive a jab, there may be no need for them to be tested 'again and again', he added.

He rejected fears that even vaccinated tourists can transmit the disease, suggesting the same risk applied for those who has tested negative.

"They are allowed to travel, and of course, a few minutes later or a few days later they could catch the disease and spread it. So the vaccination certificate is a step forward, not a step backward.

"We have to follow developments and we have to listen to the health experts and adjust our strategy as events unfold.

"Of course we can't set things in stone yet. It's a dynamic situation and we will continue monitoring.

"For the time being I will say things are not getting worse, but that could change, I recognise that."

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