I. Announcements by the Greek State
- Restrictions on Movement
- Social distancing
- School closure
- Asylum service suspension
- Travel restrictions
- Access to Healthcare
- 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:
- Website with all information and actions of the Ministries regarding COVID-19: https://covid19.gov.gr/
- 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/el
- Ministry of Migration and Asylum Facebook Page: @migrationinfogr
- Information for students: https://covid19.gov.gr/category/paideia/mathites/
- Ministry of Education website with announcements about COVID-19: https://mathainoumeasfaleis.gov.gr/
Urgent measures to protect public health from the further spread of coronavirus COVID-19 throughout the Greek territory from Saturday, 7 November 2020 at 06:00 am.
1. Restrictions on Movement
- Starting from 7 November, the obligation of holding movement permits via SMS or handwritten papers is in effect. You can send an SMS from your mobile to the toll-free hotline 13033.
The SMS should be:
X [blank] name surname and home address
X stands for the reason for leaving the house, corresponding to numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 as follows:
- Visit to a pharmacy or to a doctor, following relevant communication and recommendation
- Doing a shopping run to stores for essential supplies (supermarkets, mini-markets), when delivery is not an option.
- Visit to a public service (only following an appointment) or bank, when electronic transactions is not possible.
- Providing assistance to someone in need or chaperoning children to/from school
- Attending a funeral or exercising parental visitation rights.
- Physical exercise or walking a pet – up to two people can engage in these activities on the condition that they maintain a distance of 1.5 meters from one another.
The reply shall read:
Movement [blank] X [blank[ name surname and home address.
- Social gatherings are prohibited and violating this measure is fined with 3,000 euros.
- It is prohibited to move, by any means, outside the boundaries of the relevant Regional Unit, or exceptionally in the case of Attica outside the boundaries of the Region, except in cases of movement, in any way:
a) to and from work,
b) for health reasons,
c) for one-off movement to the place of permanent residence
d) to attend a ceremony (e.g. funeral) or for exercising parental visitation rights.
- Movement between 9 in the evening and 5 in the morning is prohibited, with the exception of going/returning to/from work, visiting a pharmacy or a doctor (code 1) and walking a pet within walking distance of your home.
Information on the measures in the Reception and Identification Centers in Lesvos, Samos, Kos, Leros and Chios, the open accommodation sites, as well as any kind of facility and reception site for third country nationals
- Movement of third country nationals residing at the RICs and the accommodation sites throughout Greece is temporarily restricted within the corresponding perimeter, and will be applied by the Hellenic Police.
- Every day, from 07.00 to 21.00, representatives of families or groups residing at the RICs and the accommodation sites, are allowed to move to the nearest urban centres to cover for their basic needs. In areas where public transport is available, overcrowding must be avoided. The Hellenic Police shall ensure compliance with the above mentioned measures.
- The Reception and Identification Service, as well as RIC and accommodation sites’ Administration shall inform the third country nationals residing there through written and audio messages, in languages they understand, as well as actors operating in and around the sites, on the reasons for implementing the above-mentioned measure, and the need to strictly comply with it. Following communication with the respective bodies and the local units of international organizations, it is possible to issue a list of registered staff of the international organizations, as well as of the civil society bodies, which gives the right to enter the K.Y.T. and structures. By 30 November, visits or activities that are not related to accommodation, food and medical care provision for the beneficiaries, and require movement within the perimeter of the restriction, shall be allowed following permission by the RIC and sites’ Administration.
- For the provision of legal services to the residents in the RICs and the accommodation sites for third country nationals, access is given following approval by the RIC and accommodation sites’ Administration and to a specific place, where feasible. The staff employed within RICs and accommodation sites are required to strictly comply with the personal hygiene regulations as well as with the individual health preventive measures, as per the relevant announcements of the National Public Health Organisation (EODY) and the General Secretariat for Civil Protection.
- Special healthcare units are deployed within the RIC and accommodation sites’ perimeter, which stand ready to deal with eventual COVID-19 cases and to conduct healthcare controls to the staff employed within the said RICs and accommodation sites.
- The Hellenic Police is responsible for ensuring compliance with the above-mentioned movement restriction and may make relevant decisions to regulate vehicle traffic, configure police control zones and use technical barriers.
- The Ministerial Decision does not apply to the movement of asylum-seekers and stateless persons, as well as of recognized refugees or persons under subsidiary protection, carried out by special chartered means (such as ships, airplanes, railway trains, buses and cars), for reasons of public safety or in the context of accommodation and relocation programmes for the above-mentioned persons (such as HELIOS and ESTIA II).
- The entry of third country nationals in accommodation sites or RICs, in the context of organised transfers carried out by the Reception and Identification Service, is exempted from the regulations of the ministerial decision.
- The establishments of the Regional Asylum Offices (RAO), which are located either inside or outside the RIC boundaries and their the operation is not suspended in case of exit suspension, are exempted from the regulations of the ministerial decision. RIC Directors and RAO Heads of Offices, in cooperation with the Hellenic Police, take all necessary measure to ensure the safe arrival, stay and departure of the RAO staff, the third country nationals, their legal representatives and advisers, translators and any other person whose presence is absolutely needed at the RAO premises.
- The use of face mask is mandatory with the exception of children under 4 years of age, and cases where for health reasons, its use is not appropriate.
- Violating the above regulations is fined with 3,000 euros.
You may contact the local authorities and the Site’s Administration regarding the implementation of additional measures in the site where you reside.
2. Social distancing
- The use of a non-medical face mask is mandatory throughout the country, in all indoor and outdoor spaces, including workplaces, with the exception of those working in a private space, where no other people are present. The following are exempted from this obligation: persons for whom the use of a face mask is not appropriate due to medical reasons, proven by the appropriate documents, such as due to respiratory problems and b) children under four (4) years of age. Violating the obligation to use a face mask is fined with 300 euros.
- The operation of retail stores, malls, playgrounds, hair and beauty salons, gyms and cinemas is suspended. In addition, the operation of restaurants is suspended, except for take-away, delivery and drive-through services, which are only allowed in the context of the reasons justifying citizen movement, as defined herein. Grocery stores (e.g. supermarkets, mini markets, bakeries, meat markets, fish markets), pharmacies, car repair shops and open markets continue to operate.
- Transfers: Public transport is still operating at a limited frequency and with a maximum occupancy at 65%. In case a passenger does not wear a mask, he/she shall not be allowed to board the means of transport. For taxis and private vehicles, only 1 passenger plus the driver shall be allowed on board. Exceeding the passenger limit shall only be allowed if a) minor children, who cannot stay at home due to lack of supervision by an adult or b) a person in need of assistance from a second passenger to be bale to move, are on board. The use of a face mask is mandatory except for spouses and relatives of first and second degree.
- All court trials are suspended, except for cases where witnesses are not required, or for the adjudication of interim orders, etc.
- All religious services, in places of worship (of any doctrine or religion), regardless of their size and capacity, across the country, shall be suspended as a matter of precaution for public health. In funerals, only a religious leader and up to nine (9) people plus the people carrying out the burial are allowed to attend.
- The use of elevators is allowed only to people with disabilities and other vulnerabilities, and as long as it does not exceed 10% of capacity. The use of a face mask is mandatory.
3. School closure
All in-person educational activities of all education levels are suspended. Distance learning is mandatory.
4. Operation of the Asylum service
- The Asylum Service shall not provide services to the public without a scheduled appointment, except for the receipt of appeals against rejection decisions made without an appointment.
- When visiting the Asylum Service, the use of face mask as well as keeping the necessary 1.5 meters distance, are mandatory.
- In any case, asylum-seekers are invited to use the electronic applications of the website: applications.migration.gov.gr.
- Urgent cases of vulnerable asylum-seekers, as well as family reunification cases, shall be served in priority following an appointment. Travel documents and residence permits shall be delivered to the beneficiaries following a scheduled appointment.
- All scheduled interviews of applicants for international protection shall be conducted.
- Scheduled registrations via skype shall be carried out normally.
- Scheduled appointments with asylum-seekers or their lawyers for regular services, and especially those scheduled through the online platform, shall be re-scheduled under the responsibility of the services and depending on the available staff, if it is deemed necessary.
- For as long as the emergency protection measures against COVID-19 last, the physical presence of the applicants for international protection before the Independent Committees of the Board of Appeals does not have any legal consequence to the examination of the appeal.
In case for whatever reason you cannot attend your scheduled appointment at the Asylum Service, please inform in every possible way (application, e-mail, fax or phone) the competent office in advance or on the same day.
Digital portal of the Ministry of Migration and Asylum
As of Tuesday, 20.10.2020, asylum-seekers may book their appointment electronically and it is stressed that from now on, the Asylum Service will serve the public only following an electronic appointment.
The below are already being conducted only following an appointment:
Submission of supporting documents related to family reunification cases (Dublin cases)
As an exception, an appeal may be filed without an appointment, only due to binding deadlines.
Other services that are processed electronically, since June 2020, without the need to be physically present, are:
- Change of contact information;
- Change of personal data
- Application to Postpone/Expedite the Interview Date
- Certificate for application status
- Certificate for folder separation
- Certificate for submission of documents
- Certificate of issuance of copies
- Application for Legal Aid
- Allocation with PAAYPA (Provisional Social Security and Health Care Number)
Additionally, in order to avoid crowding in the Asylum Service offices, the validity of applicants’ cards is extended to November 2, 2020 up to January 14, 2021, depending on the last digit of their case number.
12.09.2020 : Extension of the International Protection Applicant Cards validity period
By decision of the Minister of Migration and Asylum and considering the need to prevent overcrowding and to protect public health, the validity period of the International Protection Applicant Cards is extended as follows:
- The validity period of the International Protection Applicant Cards corresponding to an asylum case number ending in “1”, is extended until 6 November 2020.
- The validity period of the International Protection Applicant Cards corresponding to an asylum case number ending in “2”, is extended until 13 November 2020.
- The validity period of the International Protection Applicant Cards corresponding to an asylum case number ending in “3”, is extended until 20 November 2020.
- The validity period of the International Protection Applicant Cards corresponding to an asylum case number ending in “4”, is extended until 27 November 2020.
- The validity period of the International Protection Applicant Cards corresponding to an asylum case number ending in “5”, is extended until 4 December 2020.
- The validity period of the International Protection Applicant Cards corresponding to an asylum case number ending in “6”, is extended until 11 December 2020.
- The validity period of the International Protection Applicant Cards corresponding to an asylum case number ending in “7”, is extended until 18 December 2020.
- The validity period of the International Protection Applicant Cards corresponding to an asylum case number ending in “8”, is extended until 29 December 2020.
- The validity period of the International Protection Applicant Cards corresponding to an asylum case number ending in “9”, is extended until 7 January 2021.
- The validity period of the International Protection Applicant Cards corresponding to an asylum case number ending in “0”, is extended until 14 January 2021.
The validity period of the International Protection Applicant Cards which are renewed by the Regional Asylum Office of Lesvos, is extended until 14 January 2021.
To better serve the applicants for international protection and for the protection of public health, card renewals will be taking place on specific times and dates, which the applicants can look for in the relevant application available on Ministry’s application website http://applications.migration.gov.gr.
Applicants for international protection are expected to visit the Asylum Service according to their scheduled appointment, as allocated by the above application.
In case for whatever reason you cannot attend your scheduled appointment at the Asylum Service, please inform in every possible way (application, e-mail, fax or phone) the competent office in advance or on the same day. In case the application does not work, please contact the Asylum Service in any appropriate way to report the exact problem.
Regarding the procedures before the Appeals Authority, as of Monday 18.05.2020, the authorised attorneys representing the applicants may submit any request electronically, which is sent to the following e-mail address:
5. Travel restrictions
Before travelling to and from Greece, find out about the restrictions that may apply at the time of your trip, from the websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (https://www.mfa.gr/en/current-affairs/statements-speeches/welcome-to-greece.html), the Civil Aviation Authority (http://www.ypa.gr/el/news) and the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy (https://www.ynanp.gr/el/gr-epikoinwnias-enhmerwshs/prostasia-apo-neo-koronoio-nomothesia/)
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
Only one (1) escort/visitor per patient is allowed in all hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices and diagnostic centers, while 80% of the scheduled surgeries shall be postponed. Oncology patients and emergency cases, as well as special hospitals are exempted from this restriction.
7. Personal Hygiene and prevention
Instructions for the proper use of face masks
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or with an alcoholic antiseptic solution before putting on the face mask, and definitely before removing it.
- Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
- Remove it by pulling at the same time both elastic strings behind your ear loops. When removing the face mask, make sure you do not touch its front part. Dispose of the mask when it becomes damp.
- If the mask is disposable, dispose of it safely in a regular bin and not in a recycling bin, holding it from the strings. Disposable masks are not recyclable and should not be disposed of in recycling bins.
- If it is a reusable mask (cloth face mask), make sure you wash it as soon as possible in the laundry machine or by hand using a regular detergent, at a temperature of 60ο C and then iron it.
It should be noted that the use of face masks is a complementary measure and does not replace the main safety measures, such as physical distancing> 1.5m, respiratory hygiene (use of tissue when coughing or sneezing), hand hygiene and avoiding touching the face.
Guidelines for home isolation of suspect COVID-19 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 case a 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.
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.