by Associated Press | May 29, 2020
Athens, Greece (AP) - Greece has listed 29 countries from where it will accept visitors as of June 15, as the Greek government looks to mitigate some of the financial damage from the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Greek Tourism Ministry said travelers from the permitted countries will be able to enter Greece on direct flights to Athens and to the northern city of Thessaloniki. The list will be expanded on July 1 to include other countries, the ministry added.

"Our aim is to be able to welcome every tourist who has overcome their fear and has the ability to travel to our country," Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said on Antenna television. The 29 countries announced Friday are: Albania, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea and Switzerland.

Visitors arriving from those countries could be subject to sample coronavirus testing, the ministry said.

Greece imposed a lockdown early in its coronavirus outbreak, a move credited with limiting infections. The country so far has a total of 175 deaths and slightly more than 2,900 confirmed cases. No cases have been detected on the vast majority of the Greek islands, which are popular vacation spots. 

Safety measures in place include capacity limits at hotels and resorts, each hotel having a designated doctor and close consultations with the Health Ministry, which has been improving treatment facilities at regional hospitals, including on several islands. 

"We are opening up, but at the same time we are closely monitoring the situation. Strict health protocols will protect both staff and tourists," Theoharis said before the list was announced.

Tourism and related industries make up around 20 percent of the Greek economy, and the government has been anxious to ensure the tourist season is not lost this year.