Greece to open airports to arrivals from 29 countries from June 15

Santorini, Greece.

Greece said Friday it would reopen its airports in Athens and Thessaloniki to arrivals from 29 countries from June 15, the start of the tourist season.

Visitors would be allowed to fly into Greece from 16 EU countries, including Germany, Austria, Denmark, Finland, the Czech Republic, Baltic countries, Cyprus and Malta, the tourism ministry said in a statement.

But countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic -- such as France, Spain, Britain and Italy -- were not on the list.

Outside the European Union, holidaymakers from Switzerland, Norway, and neighbouring Balkan countries such as Albania, Serbia and North Macedonia will be allowed to land at Greece's main airports from June 15.

The list also includes Australia, Japan, Israel, Lebanon, China, New Zealand and South Korea.

The ministry said that further countries could be added before July 1 when the country's regional airports also reopen.

"The list... has been drawn up on the basis of the epidemiological profile of each country," taking into account the recommendations of the European Aviation Safety Agency and a report by Greece's commission for infectious diseases, the statement said.

Greece began the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions on May 4, and will start reopening its hotels next month.

It has been less severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic that many EU countries, with 175 deaths and 2,906 infections officially registered so far.