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Greece is proposing a rapid test across the EU to restart travel

Greek Tourism Minister, Harry Theoharis, called for the implementation of rapid testing for Covid-19 at all European airports in order to enable travel and ensure the safety of travelers, tourism professionals and destination populations.

Theoharis presented the proposal to tourism leaders during his participation this week in the 6th Global Tourism Crisis Committee held by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) via teleconference.

The Greek minister presented a series of best practices for border control and tabled the proposal as part of a set of EU travel protocols.

He underlined the importance of common protocols across the Union, adding that rapid testing would contribute to the restart of travel and sector recovery by 2022.

“Antigen tests are ideal for use at border controls in order to immediately determine if a person is a carrier of Covid-19,” said Theoharis of the tests which are “low cost, give fast and reliable results”.

During his presentation, Theoharis added that rapid antigen testing for Covid-19 should be performed throughout the EU with countries of entry retaining the right to request additional screening with molecular tests whenever necessary.

The message “Test on Departure – Test on Return” will eliminate the possibility of unpleasant measures for tourists when they return to their homelands, such as travel bans or quarantine, said Theoharis.

In this direction, Theoharis proposed the creation of a special committee under the World Tourism Organization (WTO) which would formulate procedures.

Theoharis said Greece had gained valuable knowhow “at the forefront of both the successful management of the coronavirus pandemic and the safe opening to tourists. “After the innovation for border control measures with the entry system (EVA), our country is moving forward with specific proposals for the opening of borders, with more flexibility but also with security,” he said.