Greece deploys drones to prevent revelers from breaking COVID rules | Voice of America
ATHENS – Authorities on Greece’s most popular tourist island, Mykonos, will deploy more than a dozen drones to spot those defying security protocols aimed at preventing the spread and resurgence of COVID-19.
The move, known as “Operation Mykonos,” comes after a series of so-called “Corona parties” staged by contractors in villas and private estates in recent weeks to circumvent safety rules banning exploitation nightclubs.
It also comes as the besieged government of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis scrambles to revive its struggling tourism sector, drawing in foreign travelers – mostly from the United States, Europe, Israel and Russia – with the promise to have a safe summer vacation under the Greek regime. Sun.
Foreign travelers are required to adhere to local closures, curfews, and security protocols during their stay.
As part of “Operation Mykonos”, the authorities will deploy 15 drones to fly over villas or private establishments in Mykonos which, in recent weeks, have hosted parties with hundreds of locals and foreigners. Strong teams of ten-member officers will also be trained to search establishments on notice, arrest and impose fines on violators, authorities told VOA.
Fines range from $ 365 to over $ 6,000.
Officials told VOA that the measures, coupled with increased police checks, inspections and additional surveillance cameras across Mykonos, will serve as a model for other hot spots popular among foreign travelers. These include Rhodes, Santorini and Paros, according to authorities.
“Illegal parties represent an increased risk of the virus spreading, infecting more and more people,” Nikos Hardalias, head of the Greek Civil Protection Agency, warned on Sunday. “This means a spike in COVID cases which can lead to further restrictions, leading to business closures, causing major damage to tourist areas. ”
“It is high time,” he warned, “for everyone to measure themselves up to the challenge and take full responsibility for their actions”.
On Monday, government spokeswoman Aristotelia Peloni also criticized the proliferation of “corona parties” taking over the country, saying she wanted “Greek youth to show zeal and enthusiasm similar in the state’s national vaccination campaign.
“The freedom of the country,” she said, “can only come from a full vaccination.
Indeed, stuck since last November, Greece began to ease some of its drastic restrictions, including curfews and travel bans, in mid-May when it revived international travel.
The latest crackdown, however, underscores the paradox of what critics call a hasty and poorly thought out strategy.
“You can’t say ‘restaurants and bars can open but no music in the background to prevent crowds from gathering,” said Heracles Zissimopoulos, a leading entrepreneur on the island of Mykonos. “It’s absurd.”
“The government should seriously rethink its policy and instead provide an outlet for locals and tourists. Otherwise, these types of parties will be difficult to stop, ”he added.
Greece recorded fewer than 3,000 cases in the country’s first fight with the pandemic. But as tourists poured in last summer, infections and deaths skyrocketed, making Greeks fearful of foreign travelers.
But with 20 percent of the country’s national production dependent on tourism, the Greeks now know they can’t afford to waste a second summer tourist season in a row.
As part of a campaign called “Blue Freedom”, the government wants to vaccinate the approximately 700,000 adult residents of the Greek islands of the Aegean and Ionian seas by the end of June, with the hope that Greece can be included in the green list. revised from Great Britain. All islanders are offered the Johnson & Johnson single injection vaccine to boost immunization.
By early June, Mykonos had vaccinated around four of its ten residents and Santorini over 50%, among the highest in the country.