Greece will require all visitors traveling to the country, including those from fellow European Union countries, to present a PCR test taken within 48 hours of arrival, the country’s health ministry said Wednesday.
The move comes just a day after Italy imposed a similar requirement, triggering some pushback from the EU over the unilateral move.
The Greek decision is part of the government’s efforts to control the Covid pandemic amid worries about the new omicron variant, the ministry said. The requirement enters into effect at 6 a.m. local time on Dec. 19., with the only exception applying to travelers who remained in another country for less than 48 hours.
Greece continues to see high daily increases in new coronavirus cases as well as high numbers of new hospitalizations and deaths.
The European Commission said Wednesday that countries are supposed to give advance notice to the EU about changes in Covid travel rules. Spokesman Christian Wigand said that “in order to maintain a coordinated approach,” EU nations are obliged “to inform the Commission and other member states 48 hours in advance whenever they decide to impose additional restrictions.” He added that the EU has reminded Italy about this obligation.
The omicron variant will likely be dominant in Europe by mid-January, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday.