embed facebook twitter flipboard mail icon TEXT SIZE AaAa Kastellorizo is coronavirus free. All of the 500 inhabitants of the small Greek island have been vaccinated. Since last March, only one COVID-19 case has been detected on the island. The carrier was quickly isolated and the virus did not spread to the community.

The locals are being careful, but they live in a more relaxed way. Anyone arriving on the island must take a rapid test. Maria Lazaraki was one of the first to be vaccinated. Her family’s restaurant remains closed, but the 90-year-old woman loves to cook for her grandchildren. “We had the vaccine! We had the first dose and 15 days later the 2nd. The entire population got vaccinated, people from 20 to 94 years old. Of course I am old, I have lived my life, but fortunately the virus did not reach our island. Before the pandemic, we had a lot of tourists. Hopefully they will return.” Fisherman Michalis Matsos has suffered significant financial damage due to the pandemic. He hopes that the situation will improve in the coming months.

“Tourists do not come anymore, we are alone. Fish cannot be sold. Whatever I catch has no value. We hope that people will come in the summer, because they buy most of the fish I catch.”

As for the summer, Kastellorizo supports the Greek government’s proposal for the issue of a vaccination certificate. “Vaccination has helped our psychology, we feel much better,” says the island’s Deputy Mayor, Stratos Amigdalos. “All the previous time we had a lot of anxiety, we felt fear and insecurity. We could not handle a large number of COVID-19 cases. I think things will get better. We are also in favor of the vaccination certificate. Many of our residents obtained it. For small places like Kastellorizo, it is important to know that the tourist who’s coming has been vaccinated.”