Holidays to Greece ‘possible without test’ in hope of ‘semi-normal’ summer

Brits may be able to go on holiday to Greece this summer without being tested for coronavirus, the country's tourism minister has said.

Haris Theoharis has raised hopes of a "semi-normal" summer within the Hellenic Republic if countries start using vaccination certificates.

Greece and Israel have already agreed inoculated people will be allowed to move freely between the two countries when travel restarts and the minister wants to set up similar agreements with other countries – including the UK.

Speaking to Radio 4’s Today programme, he said the Government was in "very preliminary discussions" with UK officials to discuss the proposals.

He said: "We certainly hope that with the vaccination programmes going underway, and the UK's one of the leading countries in that respect, the situation will be much much better than what it currently is.

"I was just listening to the news summary that cases have been dropping sharply, so hopefully both with the vaccination programmes going forward and the summer limiting the spread of the disease, we can have a semi-normal summer as it were."

The comments will give hope to millions of Brits that they could yet get away for some summer sun this year, although Mr Theoharis said they are still in "very preliminary discussions" and "nothing is set in stone" just yet.

"We are in very preliminary discussions in expressing the plans of the government and our plans as well on how this could work.

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"Technical discussions are underway to see if that’s going to be feasible. I am very hopeful we can reach some kind of solution, at least on the technical side."

The minister added, though, that the proposals could yet not come to pass.

He added: "We have to listen to the health experts and adjust our strategy as the event unfold.

"Of course we cannot set things in stone yet, it's a dynamic situation and we will continue monitoring.

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"For the time being, I must say that things are not that worrisome but that could change, I can recognise that."

It comes following the news that MPs have been told that trips to the beach could be allowed soon but foreign holidays may have to stay banned.

Experts who advise the government's Sage group of scientists have set out how lockdown restrictions could be lifted in the coming months to the Science Committee.

Professor Mark Woolhouse, of the University of Edinburgh, said there were no coronavirus outbreaks linked to crowded beaches in the UK last summer.

He suggested activities that were not “mass gatherings” could soon be restarted as there was “very little evidence of outdoor transmission”.

The expert, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology, said the data is pointing to "earlier unlocking".

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