Part 4: Corona crisis in Crete

The evolution of the situation and impact on tourism in Crete and Greece by the coronavirus from 6 April 2020.

Daily updates on the corona situation on Crete here on CreteTip !

Queue and distance stop
Queue and distance stop in front of a Lidl supermarket on Crete.

Next part: Corona crisis in Crete since April 16, 2020.

The Latest updates on the situation in Crete and Greece:

April 15, 2020 (Wednesday):
Today again only 22 new corona cases (to 2,192, of which 1,821 are active and 72 with severe course) and one more death (to 101). It remains at a total of only 18 cases on Crete.
The quarantine for the villages of Echinos near Xanthi and Foustani in Pella was lifted on Tuesday.

 airport of Heraklion
At the airport of Heraklion you will probably not see such queues for some time.
Flights from and to Spain, Italy, Great Britain, Holland, Germany and Turkey are still prohibited (at least until May 15).

65 percent of all hotels in Greece are about to go bankrupt and close down.

A timetable for lifting the restrictions is due to be presented next week by the Greek government, with some restrictions likely to last at least until June.
In the first phase, in addition to hairdressing salons (under strict criteria), small retail shops could also be opened.
Bars, cafés and restaurants could open in the second phase in June, with tables only outdoors and at a safe distance from each other.

Travel restrictions could be lifted after mid-June or early July. In particular, foreign tourists will be required to present an ‘antibody certificate’ before boarding an aircraft bound for Greece.
Cultural events for up to 50 people may be permitted, but the famous summer festivals with large attendance are unlikely to take place in the summer of 2020.
With regard to movement restrictions in the first phase, there may be additional options in exit permits and there are considerations of excluding members of vulnerable groups and the elderly from contact with the active population and their children and grandchildren.

Almost 80% of Greeks are satisfied with the measures taken by the government.

April 14, 2020 (Tuesday):
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced in his speech on Monday evening that Greece could take the first steps towards a return to normality in the first two weeks of May, which should begin with the opening of retail outlets under strict rules.

Today only 25 new corona cases (out of a total of 2,170, of which 1,800 are active and 73 are severe), and two more deaths (out of 101).

April 13, 2020 (Monday):
Police patrols announced in front of churches in Crete to monitor the Corona regulations after a priest in Corfu (in the presence of the mayor) and near Athens gave a holy liturgy and Holy Communion on Sunday.
Numerous swimmers were picked up on beaches in Crete and fined for having announced their departure on false grounds and instead went to the sea without permission.

A nursing home in Nea Makri, east of Athens, was quarantined late Sunday when ten pensioners and two employees tested positive for coronavirus Covid-19.

Today 31 new corona cases (to a total of 2,145 including 18 on Crete, of which 1,777 are active and 73 with severe course) and one more death (total 99).

April 12, 2020 (Sunday):

The peak of the corona crisis in Greece is over and the country has been in decline for several days now’, according to Gikas Mayorkinis, ECPA professor of epidemiology in Crete.
Supplementary information was provided:
The peak of the epidemic was before the introduction of curfew on March 23rd. If the measures are lifted now, however, conditions such as those in Italy and Spain could easily occur within three weeks.
The situation in Greece has developed much better than expected and if the measures are maintained, the virus can be defeated. However, a further wave of corona in June or July cannot be ruled out, as temperature is not a major factor for the virus and if the population relaxes in the summer, this can easily lead to new infections, as no immunity has been built up.

Today 33 new corona cases (to 2,114, of which 1,747 are active and 75 severe), and five more deaths (to a total of 98).

April 11, 2020 (Saturday):
Today 70 new corona cases (a total of 2,081, active 1,719, including 75 with a severe course) and one more death (to a total of 93).

Schools and universities in Greece remain closed at least until 10 May.

city beach of Agios Nikolaos
A city beach of Agios Nikolaos during the summer season.
April 10, 2020 (Friday):
Jannis Retsos, President of the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE), said that the focus should now be on the months from August to November.
Above all holidaymakers from the domestic market, which normally accounted for over ten percent of guests, and from countries that are only slightly affected by the pandemic are hoped for. The latter include Cyprus, Israel and also the Balkan states with normally more than 10 million visitors per year.
Unfortunately, the five most important countries for tourism in Greece have been hit particularly hard (Italy, France, Britain, USA), with the only exception of Germany.
The first hotels could not open before June and strict hygiene standards would have to be applied. It will probably be three years before the tourism industry returns to the level it had before the Corona crisis.

From mid-May, the relaxation of the existing measures could be reviewed. From May, epidemiological studies will start in Greece to detect antibodies against the virus in the population.

About 5,000 people in a Roma settlement in Nea Smyrni near Larissa, were quarantined on Thursday evening after 20 residents became infected with the coronavirus.

Today 56 new corona cases (to a total of 2,011, of which 1,652 are active and 79 with severe/critical course) and three more deaths (to a total of 90).

April 9, 2020 (Thursday):
The Greek Prime Minister today consulted with the leaders of the tourism industry. It was established that the aftermath of the Corona crisis would have a very strong impact on Greek tourism. The government’s aim, he said, was to limit the negative consequences of the crisis as far as possible. It was particularly important, he said, that during the pandemic Greece had created a great deal of confidence, which will pay off next year.

The Greek police will start stricter measures on Palm Sunday next year in the context of the traffic ban in view of the Greek Orthodox Easter (17-20 April) with drones, night-vision devices and helicopters as well as blockades at certain access areas and creepy-crawls.
With regard to airports, ports, railway stations and long-distance bus stations (KTEL), only the movement of permanent residents to their permanent residence, as declared on the basis of their tax return (E1), will be allowed without the possibility of return until the expiry of the general measures. Abusive movement to an (‘official’) permanent residence for leisure purposes will lead to a doubling of the fine to 300 euros and the confiscation of vehicle registration plates for 60 days

Today 71 newly reported corona patients (to a total of 1,955, of which 1,600 are active and 84 are severe/critical) and three more deaths (to a total of 86).

April 8, 2020 (Wednesday):
First Corona case on the island of Naxos, where a 49-year-old man fell ill with the virus.

Today 52 new corona cases (to a total of 1,884, of which 1,532 are active and 84 with severe course), as well as two more deaths (to 83).

Sunset at the Cretan coast
Sunset at the Cretan coast
Grigoris Tasios, president of the Greek Hoteliers’ Association, said the association expects at least 50% losses for this year. It is completely unclear how many hotels will be able to open this year.
The situation in the five most important countries for tourism in Greece (Germany, Great Britain, France, Poland, Russia) does not give great optimism about a quick recovery. Tasios hopes that visitors from the Balkan countries, where the number of coronavirus cases is much lower than in the rest of Europe, could play a certain role in reducing the economic damage. Foreign tourists, who are still expected to travel to Greece to some extent, will therefore come from countries that have done quite well in the fight against the pandemic, including Israel, Cyprus, Lebanon and some other Arab states.

April 7, 2020 (Tuesday):
Fifteenth Corona case on Crete in Rethymno: a 48-year-old man from near Episkopi who works on a ferry of the Piraeus-Chania line.

Today, a total of 77 new corona cases (to 1,832, of which 1,482 are active and 90 are severe) and two more deaths (to a total of 81) throughout Greece.
The peak of the epidemic in Greece so far was 1,584 active cases on Sunday 5 April 2020, since then the number of patients has been declining.

Tourism on a beach in Crete
Tourism on a beach in Crete in recent years.
April 6, 2020 (Monday):
Regarding tourism this year, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said that it is not certain whether Greece can receive tourists.
The government is doing everything possible to save the season and if the corona crisis should be over relatively quickly, the main season could possibly take place in the third quarter. However, if COVID-19 remains a threat, the government will change its mind.
The idea is to reopen the borders to countries with low infection spread (but probably not to Italy, Spain and the UK), but it must be assumed that every person entering the country will have to undergo a corona test.

Tightened curfews for the tourist islands of Mykonos and Santorini, as the coronavirus has been imported to the islands (two cases each on Santorini and Mykonos) and there is no local medical treatment for COVID-19 possible.
For example, there is now a total night curfew on both islands, dogs are only allowed to walk near the house for 15 minutes, there are stricter restrictions on shopping, the care of the needy is provided exclusively by the municipality, and only first-degree relatives of the deceased may attend funerals.

Today only 20 more Corona cases (to a total of 1,755, of which 1,407 are active and 90 with severe course), and six deaths (to 79).
The average age of the 79 deceased so far was 74 years and 83.6% had an underlying disease or were at least 70 years old.
A total of 25,453 clinical samples have been tested for COVID-19 so far.

Here to the previous part: Corona situation on Crete until 5 April 2020.

Further information

Corona cases in Greece
Information from the Greek Ministry of Health on Coronavirus in Greece (English)
Official Greek information site on coronavirus (Greek)
Forms and instructions for leaving the house (English)

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