New quarantine rules for holidaymakers returning to England from seven Greek islands

Holidaymakers returning to England from seven Greek islands must quarantine from this Wednesday, the government has announced.

It comes as Ministers outlined plans to allow some island destinations to have different quarantine rules from the mainland.

Holiday plans for some Brits were thrown into chaos and confusion last week when Scotland and Wales imposed quarantine rules on Greece and Portugal, but not England.

But today Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said new data collected by the Joint Biosecurity Centre is detailed enough to make different assessments of different regions.

He said regional changes to quarantine policy would not be practical, because it’s impossible to tell if someone has moved around the country.

But they will be introduced on areas with a natural border – such as an island which has direct flight routes to England.

Grant Shapps told MPs the data showing infections within countries is “too patchy” to have regional quarantine arrangements at the moment.

He told the Commons: “In many cases, the international data is still simply too patchy and, in all cases, there is next to nothing to prevent people from moving around within a country’s border.”

Now, quarantine rules will be imposed on people returning from the islands of Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Crete, Santorini and Zakynthos.



Grant Shapps announced the measure in the House of Commons

People returning from these islands after 4am on Wednesday will have to stay at home for two weeks.

Mr Shapps said that travelling during coronavirus “is not without risk” and warned holidaymakers to travel with their “eyes open”.

The Transport Secretary added that “quarantine combined with testing is more promising”.

He told MPs: “We are working actively on the practicalities of using testing to release people from quarantine earlier than 14 days.

“For the reasons described, this could not be a pure test-on-arrival option, it would not work, but my officials are working with health experts with the aim of cutting the quarantine period without adding to infection risk or infringing our overall NHS test capacity – which also now needs to cater to schools going back and universities returning.

“The islands policy itself becomes actively immediately and I will, of course, update the House on quarantine testing in the coming weeks.”

At the same time, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has updated its travel advice for Greece advise against all but essential travel to Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Crete, Santorini and Zakynthos.

Mr Shapps said: “Our top priority has always been to keep domestic infection rates down, and today we’re taking the next step in our approach. Through the use of enhanced data we will now be able to pinpoint risk in some of the most popular islands, providing increased flexibility to add or remove them – distinct from the mainland – as infection rates change.

“This development will help boost the UK’s travel industry while continuing to maintain maximum protection to public health, keeping the travelling public safe.”

source.

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