February 26, 2024

Greece Deploys Drones to Prevent Partygoers From Breaching COVID Guidelines | Voice of America

3 min read

ATHENS – Authorities on Greece’s most well-known tourist island, Mykonos, will deploy a lot more than a dozen drones to place these who defy basic safety protocols aimed at preventing the distribute and resurgence of COVID-19. 
The final decision, known as “Operation Mykonos,” comes soon after a string of local so-called  “Corona-parties” organized by business people at personal villas and estates in the latest months to bypass safety policies banning the procedure of nightclubs. 
It also arrives as the beleaguered federal government of Greek Primary Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis scrambles to revive its battered tourism sector, luring international travelers — primarily from the United States, Europe, Israel, and Russia —  with the guarantee of a harmless summer months getaway keep less than the Greek sun. 
Foreign vacationers are expected to abide by nearby lockdowns, curfews, and basic safety protocols throughout their stays. 

FILE – People gather as the sunshine sets at the windmills on the Aegean Sea island of Mykonos, Greece, Aug. 16, 2020.

Underneath “Operation Mykonos,” authorities will deploy 15 drones to fly above non-public villas or establishments in Mykonos that in new months were being host to functions packed with hundreds of locals and foreigners. Ten-member sturdy teams of officers will also be formed to raid the establishments upon detect, arresting and fining the offenders, authorities told VOA. 
Fines range concerning $365 to over $6,000. 
Officers tell VOA the actions, coupled with heightened police controls, inspections and added surveillance cameras across Mykonos, will serve as a blueprint for other well-liked hotspots between overseas travelers. These consist of Rhodes, Santorini and Paros, in accordance to authorities. 
“Illegal functions spell a greater danger of observing the virus unfold, infecting far more and more persons,” warned Nikos Hardalias, the head of Greece’s Civil Safety Agency, on Sunday. “It spells a spike in COVID situations that can guide to refreshing constraints, major companies to shut down, triggering big damage to tourist areas.” 
“It is high time,” he warned, “for every person to measurement up to the problem and take on comprehensive obligation of their actions.” 
On Monday, govt spokesman Aristotelia Peloni also criticized the mushrooming “corona-functions” gripping the country, expressing she wished “Greece’s youth confirmed similar zeal and enthusiasm in the state’s nationwide vaccination travel.” 
“The country’s flexibility,” she stated, “can only arrive through in depth immunization.” 
Successfully in lockdown given that last November, Greece started out easing some of its sweeping constraints, such as curfews and travel bans, in mid-Could when it re-launched global journey. 
The hottest crackdown, however, underscores the paradox of what critics simply call a hasty and ill-imagined-out tactic.  

FILE – A waiter serves a team of people in a restaurant of Plaka district, as places to eat and cafes in Greece open soon after six months of lockdown, amid the coronavirus outbreak, in Athens, Greece, Might 3, 2021.

“You cannot say ‘restaurants and bars can open but no audio taking part in in the background to block crowds from gathering,’” mentioned Heracles Zissimopoulos, a top entrepreneur on the island of Mykonos. “It’s absurd.” 
“The government should really significantly rethink its plan, and offer locals and visitors with an outlet, instead. In any other case, these types of get-togethers will be tricky to halt,” he extra. 
Greece recorded much less than 3,000 scenarios in the course of the country’s initially bout with the pandemic. But as travellers streamed in past summer season, bacterial infections and fatalities sky-rocketed, generating Greeks apprehensive to overseas tourists. 
But with 20 p.c of the nation’s domestic output reliant on tourism, Greeks now know they can sick afford to pay for to reduce a next summertime tourism time in a row. 

FILE – Men and women hold out at the reception corridor of a COVID-19 vaccination mega heart in Athens, Feb. 15, 2021.

Below a campaign named “Blue Liberty,” the government would like to vaccinate all 700,000 or so adult people of Greece’s islands in the Aegean and Ionian Seas by the close of June, hoping Greece can be incorporated in Britain’s revised green-record of journey nations. All islanders are being made available the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine to enhance immunization. 
As of early June, Mykonos experienced vaccinated about 4 in 10 of its inhabitants, and Santorini above 50% — among the optimum in the region.