Greece has reportedly suspended flights from Britain and Turkey amid a containment measure to stem the spread of coronavirus, as the lockdown was imposed nationwide. The ban came into effect immediately in Athens at 04:00 GMT on March 23 and was a temporary and pre-emptive measure, a ministerial decree confirmed to the news agency. The ban will extend until April 15.
According to the reports, the travel policies have been revised by the government, who has now imposed stern restrictions for Turkey citizens. The passengers from neighbouring Turkey have been hit with a total ban, as restrictions were extended to the sea, rail and road connections, completely prohibiting travel. The government published an official statement in state gazette saying that the temporary restriction of the aircraft from the United Kingdom and Turkey was for preventive reasons, for the protection of public health from the contagion of COVID-19 in the Greek Territory.
The Greek citizens, holders of residence permits, or persons with permanent or usual residence in Greece, were, however, exempted from the ban. The transit of truckloads and the cargo ships was permitted to keep the trade and commerce flowing, as per the reports.
Recently, Greece received a supply aircraft of the mask donations from mainland China. Airport officials said in a statement that the load comprised of mainly FFP2 masks reserved for the hospitals. According to reports, Greece has been facing a shortage of masks and other medical equipment. Beijing and Athens share a strong commercial relationship for over a decade, especially since after terminals in the port of Piraeus, near Athens, were sold to the Chinese shipping giant Cosco by Greece, as per agency reports.
At least 624 confirmed cases and over 17 fatalities have been recorded in the country from the COVID-19, as per the reports. Greece installed strict health screenings at airports and sent passengers suspected of carrying virus strain on the mandatory 14-day quarantine. The government reportedly adopted drastic measures to limit movement. It scrambled to shutter establishments and banned the assembly of more than 10 people.