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Bedbug crisis warning in Athens ‘absolutely false’: hoax targeting foreign visitors to Greece using short-term rental flats under investigation by police

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Greece’s health ministry is seeking police help against hoaxers who tried to scare foreign tourists out of some Athens short-term rental flats by inventing a bedbug crisis.

A ministry statement on December 5 said posters stuck up outside flat buildings in the city centre, festooned with fake ministry and Athens municipality logos, were “absolutely false”.

The posters, addressed to “dear visitors” in misspelled English, claimed health authorities had ordered local “private guest houses” evacuated “to protect the public health of permanent Greek tenants”.

Citing a nonexistent bedbug infestation, they threatened visitors with a €500 fine (US$540) for failure to leave their accommodation, and politely wished them a pleasant stay in Greece.
A bed bug on the glove of a person treating a flat against bedbugs in France. Photo: Reuters

In addition to a cost-of-living crisis, Athens and other parts of Greece face housing problems largely caused by the proliferation of short-term rental flats – mainly for foreign visitors.

That has helped fuel a surge in long-term rental costs for Greeks, many of whom are priced out of residential areas in central Athens. Property values are also spiralling, in part because of a “golden visa” programme offering residence to foreign property investors.

Do we really need to panic about a bedbug ‘pandemic’? Of course not

Tourism is a key driver of Greece’s economy, accounting for a fifth of annual output, and 2023 is expected to have been a record year for arrivals.

The health ministry said that it had informed the police “to do what is necessary” about the hoax. It said that “nobody is allowed to terrorise and misinform the public” on public health issues.

Greece has not recorded any major trouble with the bloodsucking creepy-crawlies that have recently caused consternation in France and South Korea.


Greece’s health ministry is seeking police help against hoaxers who tried to scare foreign tourists out of some Athens short-term rental flats by inventing a bedbug crisis.

A ministry statement on December 5 said posters stuck up outside flat buildings in the city centre, festooned with fake ministry and Athens municipality logos, were “absolutely false”.

The posters, addressed to “dear visitors” in misspelled English, claimed health authorities had ordered local “private guest houses” evacuated “to protect the public health of permanent Greek tenants”.

Citing a nonexistent bedbug infestation, they threatened visitors with a €500 fine (US$540) for failure to leave their accommodation, and politely wished them a pleasant stay in Greece.
A bed bug on the glove of a person treating a flat against bedbugs in France. Photo: Reuters

In addition to a cost-of-living crisis, Athens and other parts of Greece face housing problems largely caused by the proliferation of short-term rental flats – mainly for foreign visitors.

That has helped fuel a surge in long-term rental costs for Greeks, many of whom are priced out of residential areas in central Athens. Property values are also spiralling, in part because of a “golden visa” programme offering residence to foreign property investors.

Do we really need to panic about a bedbug ‘pandemic’? Of course not

Tourism is a key driver of Greece’s economy, accounting for a fifth of annual output, and 2023 is expected to have been a record year for arrivals.

The health ministry said that it had informed the police “to do what is necessary” about the hoax. It said that “nobody is allowed to terrorise and misinform the public” on public health issues.

Greece has not recorded any major trouble with the bloodsucking creepy-crawlies that have recently caused consternation in France and South Korea.

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