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
- Vaccination against COVID-19
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
- 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 Monday, 25 January 2021 at 06:00 am.
1. Restrictions on Movement
- In accordance with the current legislation, movement between 21:00 in the evening and 5:00 in the morning is prohibited, with the exception of going/returning to/from work, visiting the hospital, a pharmacy or a doctor, when recommended following relevant communication and walking a pet within walking distance of your home.
- During the remaining hours (namely from 5:00 in the morning until 21:00 in the evening) movement is allowed and 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. As of 18 January, retail stores have reopened but the relevant movement permit is valid only for 2 hours (counting from the time noted on the written form or the time when permission of movement is sent through the SMS). Hair and beauty salons have also reopened but having arranged an appointment through telephone or email is necessary.
- Visit to a public service (only following an appointment) or bank when electronic transactions are 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 three people can engage in these activities on the condition that they maintain 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 individuals violating this measure will be 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.
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 19.00, 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. 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 beneficiaries of 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 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 300 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 categories are exempted from the obligation to wear a mask: 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 playgrounds, 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 2 passengers 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 able to move, are on board. The use of a face mask is mandatory except for spouses and relatives of first and second degree when in their own private vehicle.
- All court trials are suspended, except for cases where witnesses are not required, or for the adjudication of interim orders, etc. In case you have a court hearing, you are encouraged to reach out to your legal representative for more information. Attendance of religious services as well as access of individuals to places of worship for praying (of any doctrine or religion), is allowed, regardless of the size and capacity, across the country, with specific restrictions (ex. 1 person/25sqm, max 50 people, 2m social distancing etc), as a matter of precaution for public health. In funerals, general rules are applicable (both for indoors and outdoors religious ceremonies); namely 1 person/25 sq, max 50 people, social distancing etc. 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 second level educational activities (gymnasiums and lyceums) are suspended until 29 January 2021 and they will reopen on 1 February. When in person educational activities are not possible, distance learning is mandatory. First level education activities (kindergartens, nurseries and elementary schools have reopened, as of 11 January, with some restrictions.
- All in-person educational activities in gymnasiums, lyceums both of general as well as of vocational education including schools for foreign languages as well as education, training, and skill certification providers will remain in suspension until 29 February. Classes will be held through distance learning. According to an announcement of the Ministry of Education in personal educational activities in Gymnasiums, Lyceums will re-start on 1 February. In “red” areas (namely areas with an increased number of COVID-19 cases) in person activities in lyceums will remain suspended even after 1 February.
- In-person educational activities in school facilities of first level education (kindergartens, nurseries, and elementary schools) as well as school units for special education and training of all levels have restarted since 11 January, with the exception of the evening activities. This is also applicable in areas where additional restrictive measures have been taken for the protection of public health against the risk of spreading COVID-19.
- During in-person educational activities the use of a mask is obligatory both in internal and external spaces.
- In universities all in-person educational activities are suspended (lectures, exams, libraries etc.), except for the practical traineeships of senior students of units/schools of Health Science.
In order to check whether in a specific school in-person educational activities are suspended check the list at the website of the Ministry of Education (only in Greek) here: https://www.minedu.gov.gr/covid19-schools.html.
Instructions for the distance learning provided by the Ministry of Education (only in Greek) is available here:
To connect with the electronic platforms for distance learning of the Ministry of Education, click here:
Students above 16 and teachers can apply for a free COVID-19 test here: https://edu.testing.gov.gr/#/
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 authorities and depending on the available staff, if it is deemed necessary.
- As far as the Appeals Authority is concerned, according to the 11.11.2020 Circular, the non-presence of the international protection applicants before the Independent Appeals Committees, for as long as the measures are in place, does not have any legal consequence for the applicants and does not constitute a reason for the non-examination of the scheduled cases by the Committees. Taking, however, into account that the Circular in question does not suspend the administrative services to the public, it would be better for the applicants residing in Attica to present themselves before the Committees at the Appeals Authority’s premises on the date of the examination of their 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 (applications.migration.gov.gr)
As of Tuesday, 20.10.2020, asylum-seekers may book their appointment electronically and it is stressed that from that day, the Asylum Service serves the public only following an electronic appointment. The announcement can be found here https://migration.gov.gr/apokleistika-me-ilektroniko-rantevoy-i-exypiretisi-toy-koinoy/.
The below actions are already being conducted only following an appointment:
- Scheduled interviews
- Scheduled registrations
- 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)
Extension of the International Protection Applicant Cards validity period
Τhe validity period of international protection applicant cards is further extended until 31.03.2021 regardless of the expiration date of each card. Within this timeframe, holders of trifolds may receive from the competent authorities the new “smart” cards. The relevant announcement of the Asylum Service is available at https://migration.gov.gr/paratasi-deltion-aitoynton-diethni-prostasia/ and the relevant legislation (art.156 para.3 of Law 4764/2020) was published on 23.12.2020
It is reminded that the extension of international protection applicant cards had been previously extended with relevant ministerial decisions available here (https://migration.gov.gr/paratasi-ischyos-deltion-aitoynton-diethni-prostasia/) and here (https://migration.gov.gr/simantiki-enimerosi-apo-tin-ypiresia-asyloy/).
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 InsularPolicy (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.
- If you develop fever and/or respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath or cough up to 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).
- All travelling within Greece and outside the borders of the relevant Prefecture is prohibited, apart from travelling for health reasons, work related reasons, to attend a ceremony, for a divorced parent to visit his/her children, for students to travel once from the place of residence to place of studies. Samos and the Prefecture of Norther Aegean is excluded from this.
- All private sea travelling is prohibited.
- For information on international flights, please note that COVID-19 will most probably impact your travel to/from Greece. Important information about your travel plans from/to Greece can be found here https://www.iatatravelcentre.com/world.php and here https://www.aia.gr/traveler/travellers-info/faq-for-covid19.
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.
8. Vaccination against COVID-19
The National Vaccination Campaign for COVID-19 has begun. The vaccination is free of charge for all and the vaccine will become gradually available to all, in priority groups; during the current period, front-line workers in the healthcare and people above the age of 80 are prioritized. As of 12 February, people above the age of 75 will be able to arrange their appointments for vaccination. In the meantime, the age group 60-64 will also be prioritized, and relevant appointments can be registered as of 10 February. Vaccinations for above age groups will start on Monday, 15 February.
The goal is to vaccinate the entire population over 18 years of age. Vaccination is optional but is considered essential for the protection of individual and public health.
The National Operational Vaccination Plan against COVID-19 is available here (in Greek only)https://emvolio.gov.gr/diadikasia-emvoliasmou .
How do COVID-19 vaccines work?
The function of vaccines is based on the appropriate preparation of the individual’s immune system (the body’s natural defense) to recognize a specific disease and to become protected against it.
Building immunity: Most research on COVID-19 vaccines involves provoking a response against a protein (either whole or in part) that is found only in the virus that causes COVID-19. When a person is vaccinated, an immune response is generated. Most COVID-19 vaccines require two doses to build immunity.
If the person becomes infected with the virus after being vaccinated, the immune system is able to recognize the virus and is already prepared to attack it.
More information on how the vaccine works is available here (in Greek only) https://emvolio.gov.gr/plirofories .
How can I access the vaccine?
The goal is to vaccinate the entire population in the country over 18 years of age. During this period priority is given to citizens over 80 years old. The National Vaccination Committee is the competent authority for prioritizing specific population groups depending on the number of doses available.
Citizens can check through a special platform, if they belong to the population group that can be vaccinated in the current time-period, here: https://emvolio.gov.gr/. Another way to get informed is by sending an SMS to 13034. The SMS must have the following format: AMKA (blank) SURNAME. The EMVOLIO application will send a relevant response, either positive or negative. In case you have PAAYPA, add in the SMS your PAAYPA number (instead of AMKA) so that the SMS has the following format: PAAYPA (blank) SURNAME.
If you do not have an AMKA or a PAAYPA, you can find out about the possibility of scheduling the vaccination on the page “Application for data examination”, which is available here emvolio.gov.gr/aitisi.
If you belong in the current group prioritized for vaccination period, you can make an appointment in one of the following ways:
• Through text messages (SMS) to 13034, if you have registered in the e-platform for prescription (in Greek “άυλη συνταγογράφηση”) and you are entitled for vaccination.
• Through entering the emvolio.gov.gr platform, you can make an appointment yourselves.
• Upon your visit or the visit of third parties on your behalf to your nearest KEP
• Upon your arrival or the visit of third parties on your behalf to your nearest Pharmacy.
Detailed instructions for booking an appointment can be found here: https://emvolio.gov.gr/sites/default/files/attachments/emvolio_platform_presentation_vfinal.pdf?rel=homepage
On the day of the scheduled appointment, you should arrange for your timely arrival at the Vaccination Center (at least 15 ‘before the appointment time), in order to facilitate the smooth flow of the vaccination process and to avoid any delays. More information about the day of the scheduled appointment is available here: https://emvolio.gov.gr/instructions .
Useful information after Covid-19 vaccination
Can I resume my normal activities after vaccination against COVID-19?
Yes, you can continue to participate in all of your planned activities, as long as you feel healthy. Vaccination during pregnancy is not yet well studied and should therefore be avoided. For more information you can refer to the website of the Ministry of Health: emvolio.gov.gr
Can there be any side effects after vaccination?
According to clinical studies, the most common side effects that may occur after vaccination are pain on the injection spot, headache, muscle pains, fatigue, chills or fever. These symptoms may be more common in younger ages. They recede soon and you do not have to worry, because it is an indication that your body is responding to the vaccine. Taking paracetamol helps to treat them. If symptoms persist, contact your doctor or the vaccination center.
More information on the COVID-19 vaccine is also available on the World Health Organization website: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/covid-19-vaccines .
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.
Last updated: 09 Feb 2021