Greece on Monday faced an onslaught of thousands of tourists driving through the only open land border for travelers, stirring fears of the new coronavirus’ spread as the country tentatively begins opening itself up.
On the Bulgarian-Greek border, a kilometres-long column of cars with Bulgarian and Romanian tourists and workers was formed even before the Greeks opened the Kulata crossing.
Among them were hundreds of Serbian families whom Greek border police turned back after they finally arrived at the checkpoint.
They had departed with the understanding that a May 20 deal among Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia would allow them entry through the crossing from Monday.
But after a long wait, they were informed that an entry ban remains in place until July 1 for all but citizens of Europe’s border-free Schengen area.
Some of the stranded tourists, however, told Serbian media that Greek police explained the entry ban was due to an unsatisfactory epidemiological situation in Serbia.
Greece shares borders with Bulgaria, Albania, Macedonia and Turkey. Only the Kulata crossing with Bulgaria was opened on Monday.