ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece will allow in visitors through its border with Bulgaria only if they show a negative COVID-19 test, the government said on Friday, as it tries to contain the spread of the disease during the peak tourism season.
The latest restriction will come into effect at 0300 GMT on Tuesday, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said. The test must be conducted within 72 hours before the visit.
Greece reopened its land border with Bulgaria, a route used by thousands of Europeans arriving in Greece by car, on June 17 ending three months of lockdown.
On Thursday, Petsas said that authorities had seen increasing caseloads in some Balkan countries and that they had ramped up checks at the Promachonas border crossing between Bulgaria and Greece.
A health ministry official told Reuters that authorities had confirmed 29 COVID-19 cases arriving through Promachonas in the past 24 hours. “The cases are expected to increase by the end of the day,” the official said.
Visitors to Greece also need to complete a passenger locator form 24 hours before arrival, the government said, instead of the previous 48 hours ruling.
Greece has managed to contain the spread of the virus mainly due to an early lockdown. Since its first case emerged in February, it has registered 3,672 cases and 193 deaths.
The country recently decided to ban entry to Serbian visitors until July 15. The government says that it is “constantly monitoring COVID-19 developments and reviews its decisions accordingly”.
Reporting by Lefteris Papadimans and Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Nick Macfie