About Coronavirus

I. Announcements by the Greek State

  1. Restrictions on Movement
  2. Social distancing
  3. School closure
  4. Asylum service suspension
  5. Travel restrictions
  6. Access to Healthcare
  7. Personal Hygiene and prevention


This page will be regularly updated with State announcements on measures taken by the Greek Government for the prevention and response to the Coronavirus.  Regular updates may also be referenced on the websites of the responsible State bodies below:

All exits from the ESTIA programme, both accommodation and cash, are suspended until 31 May 2020.

1. Restrictions on Movement

Until the 4 May, 06:00 am. Ministerial Decision 26794

Civil Protection Greece, 22/03: COVID19:

Starting from 4 May 2020, the obligation of holding movement permits via SMS or handwritten papers is lifted. Exercise outdoors and swimming in the sea is allowed but not in organized beaches. The use of masks is mandatory when using public transportation and taxi and a fine of 150 euros will be imposed to those violating this regulation.

  • As of 4 May, there will be no car restrictions inside Athens (daktylios) till the end of the month, while a driver and 2 passengers are allowed in private vehicles.
  • The traffic restrictions from one region to another remain in effect and will be lifted on 18 May.
  • By 24 May, travelling to the islands was only allowed to permanent residents, while as of May 25 it is allowed to all.

Information about the measures in the Reception and Identification centers (RICs) on the islands in view of COVID-19

In order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) in the Reception and Identification Centers (RICs), the following measures have been introduced by the Greek authorities (foreseen by Joint Ministerial Decisions, published in the Official Government Gazette).

The measures remain in place until further notice.

  1. Movement of third country nationals residing at the RICs is restricted within the perimeter of the Center.
  2. Every day, from 07.00 to 19.00, representatives of families or groups residing at the RICs are allowed to move to the neighboring urban centers in order to cover their basic needs.
  3. In areas where public transport is available for the movement, overcrowding must be avoided. In areas where no means of public transport is available, up to 100 persons per hour in groups of less than 10 persons are allowed to exit the RIC, in order to move to the nearest urban centers.
  4. The Hellenic Police is responsible for ensuring compliance to the above measures of restriction of movement.
  5. The Reception and Identification Service will inform residents of the RICs in the languages they understand, through written and audio messages, as well as actors operating in the RICs about the applicable measures.
  6. For the same period, all visits or activities inside the RICs not related to the accommodation, food provision and medical care of RIC residents, are only permitted following authorization of the RIC management. For the provision of legal services, access shall be also granted following authorization from the RIC management and in a specific area, where this is feasible.
  7. Special health units are also established in order to treat any case of COVID-19 and to conduct health screening for all RIC staff.
  8. The use of mask is mandatory in public transport, taxis, hospitals and other medical facilities. The use of mask is mandatory both for customers as well as employees. Non-compliance may incur a fine of 150-300 EUR, based on the JMD issued on 04.05.2020, applying also to the general population in Greece.
  9. In shops, hospitals, public services and other areas of public gathering there should be at least 1,5 meters distance between persons. Non-compliance may incur a fine of 150 EUR based on the JMD issued on 04.05.2020, applying also to the general population in Greece.

2. Social distancing

Social distancing measures were announced by the Government of Greece on 15 March as ‘westayhome’ – Increased measures are expected

  • This includes flexible working arrangements for public sector workers, the closure of restaurants, cafes, malls and other public spaces. As of 4 May, small shops, hair salons, barbershops, beauty parlors, bookstores, sports-stores, garden shops, optics shops will open.
  • The rest of the retail shops will open on the 11 of May and the shopping malls and department stores will open on the 18 May. The use of mask is mandatory when visiting a shopping mall. Cafes, bars and restaurants will open on 25 May and will allow to have customers in outdoors space only.
  • As of 1 June 2020, hotels of 12-month operation will open.  Courts remain close until 31 May.
  • All services in places of worship, regardless of religion, are suspended until 3 May 2020. On 4 May churches will open for individual prayer and as of the 17 May, will open to the public and people will be allowed to attend religious services under strict rules (distancing, masks). Joint Ministerial decisions 27283 and 27807
  • The use of elevators is allowed only to persons with disabilities and other vulnerabilities. Masks are mandatory. Joint Ministerial Decision 27815
  • No free spaces in Athens or other municipalities in the country will be granted for prayers for Eid al-Fitr.

The General Secretariat for Religion has issued instructions to Greece’s Muslim residents for the duration of Ramadan, which started on Thursday (23/4) and ends on May 23.

  • Due to the lockdown on all places of worship and the restrictions on gatherings, prayers during Ramadan can be performed at home.
  • Iftar is allowed to take place only in houses, without any third parties (relatives, friends or other visitors).
  • No free spaces in Athens or other municipalities in the country will be granted for prayers for Eid al-Fitr.


3. School closure

Temporary closure of schools until 10 May 2020

  • Upon recommendation by the Special Committee on Infectious Diseases Experts, the Government decided to extend the suspension of the operation of all educational institutions throughout the country until the 10 May.
  • On Monday 11 May, students of the 3rd Lyceum grade will return to classes. The rest of the secondary education students will return to classes on 18 May. The decision regarding Primary Schools and Kindergartens is still pending.
  • https://www.minedu.gov.gr/koronoios-kentriki
  • The suspension of activities applies to all kindergartens, schools, IEKs, universities, private and public.
  • This extraordinary measure is being taken for preventive reasons in order to reduce the spread of the virus in the community. In this context, special measures are foreseen for working parents of minors and pupils.
  • Link 1 | Link 2 | PDF

4.  Asylum service suspension

Provision of services to the public by the Asylum Service from 18.5.2020-29.5.2020

From Monday, 18.5.2020 the Service will be again providing services to the public. Nonetheless, in light of the need to uphold public health, as well as restrain the spread of COVID-10, we would like to inform you of the following. 

  1. The validity of the cards of international protection applicants, that have expired from 13.3.2020 (date on which the provisions of service to the public by the Asylum Service was suspended) up until 31.5.2020 is prolonged as per a new ministerial decision for a period of 6 months. Therefore, the Asylum Service will not be renewing cards of international protection applicants up until 31.5.2020. The Regional Asylum Offices of Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Leros and the Asylum Unit of Kos are exempt from the above and will be renewing cards.  In addition, according to the 11341/11-6-2020 ministerial decision, the validity period of all International Protection Applicant Cards that expired or will expire between 1 June 2020 and 30 September 2020 and have not yet been renewed, is extended until 1 October 2020.
  2. From Monday 18.5.2020, the following applications will be submitted online: applications for a change of address/telephone, for a change of personal data, for the separation of files, for procurement of copies from the personal file, for a statement on the status of the application, for the rescheduling/prioritization of hearings, for the provision of legal aid, as well as applications for the deposition of documents. Relevant templates will be uploaded on the website of the Service, that will in turn be submitted electronically to the email addresses of the competent Asylum offices.
  3. From Monday 18.5.2020, the submission of appeals will resume

Provision of Services from 1.6.2020 (June 1, 2020)

The Asylum Service wishes to inform applicants of the following:

1. Cards of international protection that have expired between 13.3.2020 and 31.5.2020 will remain valid for six months according to the Ministry Decision of TT 9028/2020 (ΦΕΚ Β 1854/15.5.2020). Applicants who hold cards of international protection that are of six months duration and have expired in the above mentioned period, are requested to visit the Asylum Service offices- when the six months’ renewal period ends and not sooner, in order to renew their cards.

2. Applicants should use the template forms that are available on the Asylum Service website (http://asylo.gov.gr/en/) in order to electronically request administration services.

3. Applicants of international protection whose interview did not take place due to COVID-19 protection measures will be informed of their new interview date, at the latest when they renew their card in the Asylum Service offices. In any case, applicants of international protection are able to submit an electronic application and request to expedite their interview date (the relevant application form is available on the Asylum Service website: http://asylo.gov.gr/en/).


5. Travel restrictions

Travel restrictions

Transport links with Albania, North Macedonia, Spain and Italy have been suspended until further notice.

  • Greece imposed as of 16 March a 14-day quarantine to anyone entering Greece, regardless of nationality, until further notice. 
  • The government also decided to implement a ban on all cruise ships and sailboats docking at its ports until 1 June.

Link 1 | Link 2

Entry into Greece

  • Non-EU citizens are not allowed entry into Greece as of 6am, 18 March until 15 June 2020, unless for urgent work or family reasons. 


Advice for Travellers: 

  • The risk for travellers is considered high. It is recommended that travellers avoid nonessential travel to areas with local transmission of COVID-19 – Link. There is no vaccine against this novel corona virus.
  •  If you develop fever and/or respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath or cough 14 days after you have returned, it is recommended that you stay indoors and immediately seek medical attention mentioning your recent trip, or contact the National Public Health Organization (1135, 210-5212054).


6. Access to Healthcare

Asylum-seeker access to Healthcare (issuance of PAAYPA)

As of 1 April 2020, the issuance of the Temporary Aliens Provisional Insurance and Health Care Number (PAAYPA) to asylum-seekers will be implemented. The provision of the PAAYPA to all asylum-seekers who are fully registered and holders of valid asylum-seeker cards will start by mid-April. Asylum-seekers will be able to trace their PAAYPA through the amka.gr website and will not be required to provide a certificate to access the National Health System.  The PAAYPA  will be issued automatically together with the asylum-seeker card by the Asylum Service and will ensure the provision of healthcare. In case the asylum claim is rejected, the PAAYPA will be automatically deactivated. In case the asylum claim receives a positive decision, it will become an AMKA number.

Link | PDF file

  • On 4 May, Public hospitals will open again for tactical surgeries and external patients. The use of masks will be mandatory for everyone visiting a hospital and a fine of 300 euros will be imposed to those violating this regulation.

7. Personal Hygiene and prevention

COVID-19 Guidelines on home isolation of suspect case

  • People who are contacts of a suspect or confirmed COVID-19 case (i.e. family members, friends, acquaintances, healthcare workers) should monitor their health condition (temperature check twice a day) 14 days from the last exposure. It is wise to keep daily contact with healthcare professionals throughout the entire monitoring period.
  •  In the case that the person under self-isolation experiences respiratory infection symptoms (i.e. fever, cough, sore throat, difficulty in breathing) they should contact immediately their physician or the Hellenic National Public Health Organization (Tel No: 1135 or 210 5212 054), for further guidance.

 2. Guidelines for students

Don’t forget!

Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue and throw it in the trash right away. Keep your hands away from your face. Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds using soap and water, especially before eating and after you go to the bathroom. If you don’t have soap and water, have someone older help you use a special hand cleaner. Don’t exchange items (such as pen, pencil, eraser, mobile phone, banknotes, coins, etc.) with your classmates. Keep 1.5 m away from everyone, inside and outside school. If you feel sick let your parents / guardians or your teacher know immediately and stay home until you feel completely fine.


The compilation of announcements by the Greek State is based on measures taken by the Greek Government. The content of the Greek State announcements does not necessarily reflect the views of UNHCR. Please note that this summary of announcements by the Greek State is not an official UNHCR document and therefore all news sources and links provided should be quoted and referred to, if need be.