I. Announcements by the Greek State
- Restrictions on Movement
- Social distancing
- School closure
- Asylum service suspension
- Travel restrictions
- Access to Healthcare
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:
- Ministry of Health: https://www.moh.gov.gr/
- EODY – National Public Health Organization: https://eody.gov.gr/
- General Secretariat for Civil Protection: https://www.civilprotection.gr/en
- Ministry of Migration and Asylum Facebook Page: @migrationinfogr
All exits from the ESTIA programme, both accommodation and cash, are suspended until 31 May 2020.
1. Restrictions on Movement
Civil Protection Greece, 22/03: COVID19:
Starting tomorrow Monday at 6:00 AM nation-wide strict restrictions on public movement apply. Only movements that serve specific needs or forwork are allowed and a permit is required. Stay home, stay safe.
Following the travel restrictions as of 23 March 2020 related to COVID-19, authorities clarified that:
- No more than two people are allowed in a private vehicle (the driver and one passenger). In case of minors, then two children can travel with their parent driver.
- No more than one passenger is allowed to travel by taxi. In case of a patient who needs assistance, then one more person can accompany the patient (relevant document is needed).
- The number of passengers travelling by official Mini-buses should not exceed the 50% of the number of seats.
Update on Reception Identification Centers on the islands of Lesvos, Samos, Kos, Leros and Chios
In the framework of preventing the spread of the coronavirus to the population residing at the islands’ overcrowded RICs, the following measures were announced by the Greek Government on 18 March 2020.
- New arrivals after 1 March 2020 remain outside the RICs to avoid the risk of spreading the coronavirus. In the coming days, they will be transferred to closed sites on the mainland.
- Movement of people residing in the RICs will be restricted for a period of 30 days. Their movement to the urban centers to cover their basic needs will be controlled. More specifically, limited groups will be allowed to move to the neighboring urban centers every hour between 7am to 7pm. One member per family will be allowed to leave at a time. The coordination and control of this movement will be carried out by the police. Only public means of transport of controlled and limited circulation will be used. Wherever possible, the provision of basic items to RIC residents through phone orders will be prioritized.
- The conversion of the RICs on Kos and Leros into closed sites will begin immediately, as decided by the Greek authorities.
- The process of completion of the new closed center on Samos is accelerated, in a smaller area compared to initial planning. In parallel, the open facility in Vathy will be closing.
- The process of development of special health units inside the RICs, which will include medical clinics, isolation spaces for sick individuals for preventive purposes, and treatment of any infected cases, is already underway.
- All visits and activities of external individuals/organizations inside the RICs and accommodation sites have been suspended. Entry is only allowed to individuals working at the RICs.
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.
- Supermarkets, pharmacies and small shops remain open but introduce controlled entry/exit to limit crowding and additional measures are expected.
- All services in places of worship, regardless of religion, are suspended until 30 March 2020.
COVID-19 Guidelines on home isolation of suspect cases
- 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.
3. School closure
Temporary closure of schools until 10 April 2020
- Upon recommendation by the Special Committee on Infectious Diseases Experts, the Government decided to suspend the operation of all educational institutions throughout the country from 11 March to 10April 2020.
- 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.
4. Asylum service suspension
Temporary suspension of Asylum Services until 10 April 2020
- All administrative services to the public are suspended (e.g., registrations, interviews, appeal submissions etc.).
- Applicants’ cards and residence permits that are due to expire within the above mentioned period will remain valid.
5. 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.
Entry into Greece
- Non-EU citizens are not allowed entry into Greece as of 6am, 18 March until 18 April 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.
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.