Greek islands added to quarantine list as regional travel corridors introduced

Virus Outbreak Britain

Virus Outbreak Britain

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said that England is to start applying a regional approach to its coronavirus quarantine policy for worldwide arrivals.

This means they will be treated separately from their mainland countries.

A spokeswoman for travel trade organisation Abta said: "Today's announcement regarding travel from specific islands to England is welcome and the industry hopes that this will in turn lead to a more targeted approach such as that adopted in Germany and the Netherlands, which would also reflect the UK's domestic strategy of localised lockdowns".

The Department for Transport (DfT) said the Greek islands of Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Crete, Santorini and Zakynthos (also known as Zante) are losing their quarantine-exemptions, because data from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England "has indicated a significant risk to United Kingdom public health from those islands".

Mr Shapps said "enhanced data" allowed the United Kingdom to pinpoint risk in islands, providing flexibility to add or remove them as infection rates change. But the quarantine requirement is devastating the United Kingdom aviation industry and this change is unlikely to improve consumer confidence significantly.

Travellers arriving in England from seven Greek islands will have to quarantine from 4 a.m. London time on Wednesday, UK transport secretary Grant Shapps has announced.

The Department for Transport said the approach aims to closely manage health risks while maintaining worldwide travel and supporting the economy.

It comes after data "indicated a significant risk" from the islands.

Wales recently issued a quarantine on Greek islands.

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"The island must also have direct flights to the United Kingdom or at a minimum, transport must have taken place through exempt territories".

Last week Scotland imposed restrictions on all passengers from Greece, after a number of cases of the virus were traced back to passengers from the country.

Mr Shapps said new data from the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) revealed that, while the coronavirus level across Greece remained low, "some of the islands are well outside of the parameters".

- Have restrictions changed on islands in other countries?

- How has the tourism industry reacted to the news?

This was echoed by Airport Operators Association (AOA) chief executive Karen Dee, who urged the Government to decide on a testing regime to be put in place "as soon as possible".

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, which represents UK carriers, said: "This is a step in the right direction which in time could help open up more markets for global travel and further choice and clarity for passengers".

"Quarantine combined with testing is more promising".

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