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The covid lunacy of Greece (and British Airways) as we prepare for a most holy day – a Greek Covid Test centre

Tom Winnifrith
Tuesday 17 August 2021

The Mrs and I needed to pass a covid test within 72 hours of a flight back from the Hellenic Republic in order to be readmitted to Britain. And that meant finding a test centre open on a Saturday and a trip to Kalamata. A day ahead of the Great religious celebration what better way to spend the day.

During the week, this test centre demands an appointment so social distancing, if you believe in that bollocks, sort of happens. But between 9 am and 1 PM on Saturday it is a free for all and as we drove up to a dusty side street not far from the main square I saw the sort of queue I last saw during the banking crisis as folks rushed to empty their chequing accounts.

Was everyone 1.5 or 2 metres apart? Like hell they were. Everyone wanted to get as close as possible to the entrance door so as not to miss the 1 PM deadline. So folks squeezed together, with or without masks with nobody caring ether way, and babbled in a dozen languages. I left the Mrs and the kids to hold our place in the line and headed off to find an ATM and buy lemonades.

Twenty minutes later I was back and we were heading towards the front where being allowed in seemed somewhat random. The Mrs and kids were allowed in ahead of another couple and then a kindly nurse started ignoring me and allowing in other folks from behind me in the line. “Might I join my wife?” I asked, pointing at the Mrs.

“I did not know she was with you”. Hmm, did I suggest that in our country mixed race marriages really are not unusual and that me standing next to her and holding my son’s hand might have been a give-away? I did not for I am, as you know, terribly diplomatic so I just smiled and said that we were a family. Waved in, we all showed passports and were given forms to fill in and sent upstairs to have a swab jabbed up my nose and that of the Mrs. She seemed okay with it but the nurse must have been far more brutal with me as I squealed at the discomfort causing immense pleasure to my wife and son. Having filled in a form which would see the results emailed to me within 20 minutes, we headed off for a coffee.

Then about forty minutes later Joshua wanted the loo and we still had no results so while the Mrs headed off to buy tuck, the kids and I wandered back into the centre, this time I was unmasked. Nobody batted an eyelid as I asked why the results had not arrived in my email box.

a)      It was a Greek 20 minutes so in fact they arrived three hours later.

b)      They had lost my email form so I had to fill in another. 

Had we headed back to Kambos without filling in a second form and had a flight on Sunday, we would not have been able to show a negative test as the centre only reopened at 9 AM on Monday. Indeed as Monday was a bank holiday, I fear the clinic might have actually been closed until Tuesday which means that if Joshua had not needed a wee wee we might have been unable to board our flights on Monday evening.

Regrettably, Joshua did need a wee wee and thus I am now back in grey Wales. Such is life.

On the plane I also did not wear a mask, telling the air hostesses that I am exempt. The flight was about two thirds full and almost all the folks on the plane have been double jabbed and all bar the crew and a few kids who we are told by the “experts” are non carriers had passed a covid test in the couple of days before flying. The area we are flying from has very low covid rates, far lower than in the UK. What are the odds of someone catching covid on that plane and then, being jabbed or very young, developing severe symptoms? I put it to you that, with or without face nappies, they are almost identical at as near as damn it to zero. Yet British Airways insisted that for their own safety and that of others, folks wear masks, switch masks every four hours, dispose of masks in clear plastic bags provided (nobody did) and stay in their seats unless going to the loo. Can the airline verify its scientific claims with hard data? What do you think?

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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