Italy and Greece ease Covid restrictions ahead of tourist season

Italy and Greece have eased some Covid-19 restrictions, a sign that life is increasingly returning to normal ahead of Europe’s peak summer tourist season.

Greece’s Civil Aviation Authority has announced that it is lifting all coronavirus rules for international and domestic flights, except for the wearing of face masks during flights and at airports.

Previously, air travelers had to present proof of vaccination, a negative test or a recent recovery from the disease.

A bar in Rome (Gregorio Borgia/AP)

The green pass, which showed proof of vaccination, recovery from the virus or a recent negative test, was still required to enter hospitals and nursing homes.

Some indoor mask mandates have also ended, including in supermarkets, workplaces and stores. Masks were still mandatory on public transport, in cinemas and in all healthcare and elderly care facilities.

Public health officials said masks remain strongly recommended for all indoor activities and private businesses can still require them.

People wear face masks on a public transport bus in Rome
Public transport in Rome (Gregorio Borgia/AP)

Despite the easing of restrictions, public health officials have urged caution and stressed that the pandemic is not over.

Italy reports 699 cases per 100,000 people and records more than 100 deaths per day, with a total number of confirmed deaths of 163,500. But hospital capacity remains stable and below the critical threshold.

Italy was the epicenter of the outbreak in Europe when it recorded the first locally transmitted case on February 21, 2020.

The government imposed one of the harshest lockdowns and production shutdowns in the West during the first wave of the virus, and maintained tighter restrictions than many of its neighbors in subsequent waves.

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