Tourist-starved Greek islands strive for ‘COVID-free’ image

SourceKuwait Times

White sandy beaches make Elafonisos a popular holiday destination but it’s the Greek island’s small population that puts it top-of-the-list for COVID jabs as the country pushes to restart tourism before summer. In January, the Greek government said it would prioritize immunity on smaller islands, promising they would be fully vaccinated by the end of April. To that end, jabs are being distributed to inhabitants of dozens of islands in the Aegean sea to the east and the Ionian sea to the west, where municipalities are hungry to reopen fully to tourists next month.

“Seventy percent of the island’s population will be vaccinated before mid-May,” says Elafonisos mayor Efi Liarou, a move she said would “provide a kind of shield for the inhabitants.” “It’s a very important step that guarantees the launch of the tourist season and sends a message of optimism,” she continues, proud of what she sees as her island’s “COVID-free identity”.

Seated outside the island’s vaccination centre, more...