Will Greece go on the UK’s quarantine list? The latest travel and holiday advice explained as countries are removed from travel corridors list


Greek officials have blamed overcrowding in bars and social events for the rise in coronavirus cases

Thursday, 20th August 2020, 3:03 pm Could Greece be added to the UK quarantine list as cases begin to rise? (Photo: LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP via Getty Images) France, Malta Spain and Belgium are just a few of the popular destinations that have been removed from the UK ‘safe’ list, following a spike in coronavirus cases.

This means visitors returning to the UK from these countries will have to self-isolate for 14 days.

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The UK government is closely monitoring other countries, and has made clear that it will act fast to put quarantine measures in place if need be. With coronavirus cases beginning to rise in Greece, could the tourist hotspot be the next country to be put on the UK’s quarantine list? This is what you need to know about the current situation.

How many coronavirus cases are there in Greece? Initially, it appeared that Greece had a good handle on the Covid-19 pandemic, with Johns Hopkins University stating that the country had seen just over 4,200 cases since the start of the pandemic, and with 202 deaths. However, since Greece welcomed back holiday goers by opening its borders to international travellers on 1 July, infections have started to rise.

On 8 August, 203 new infections were recorded – this being the highest number since the beginning of the pandemic. Another 126 infections were then announced on 10 August, by Greece’s public health watchdog. Officials are blaming the increase in cases on overcrowding in bars, clubs and social events.

Gkikas Magiorkinis, assistant professor of hygiene and epidemiology at Athens University told The Guardian that Greece is “formally” in the midst of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. What new restrictions have been introduced in Greece? The Greek government has introduced a late night curfew on bars and restaurants in popular holiday destinations.

Venues will have to close from midnight until 7am, as the health minister, Vassilis Kikilias, said that the infection curve was “rising dangerously”. On Sunday, 203 new infections were recorded – the highest since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. The new restrictions will be implemented from Tuesday 11 August until Sunday 23 August.

Destinations including Mykonos, Santorini, Corfu, Crete, Rhodes, Zakynthos, Kos will all be affected, according to spokeswoman Aristotelia Peloni in a televised address. What’s the current UK travel advice for Greece? As it stands, Greece is exempt from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice against all but essential international travel.

This means you’re able to book travel insurance for any holidays to Greece. If you’re travelling to Greece, you must complete an online Passenger Locator Form at least 24 hours before arriving at the airport to travel to Greece, otherwise you may not be allowed to travel. Many UK holiday-goers have reported not being allowed to board their flight because they were unaware that they had to fill out the form beforehand.

Will Greece be added to the quarantine list? The government has shown that countries can be added to the quarantine list at short notice with its previous decision to reintroduce quarantine measures for those returning from Spain. There had been confusion about whether those coming back from Spain were required to isolate after the country was added to the exemption list and then quickly reinstated.

Junior health minister Helen Whately told Sky News: “We have to keep the situation under review and I think that is what the public would expect us to do. “If we see rates going up in a country where at the moment there is no need to quarantine, we would have to take action because we cannot take the risk of coronavirus being spread again across the UK.” The UK government website states that the list of countries exempt from quarantine rules is “under constant review to take into account the latest situation in each country” and that the list could change.

Have other countries been added to the quarantine list? On 14 August, the government announced several other countries that are now no longer considered safe to travel to. This includes:

– The Netherlands – Turks and Caicos – The island of Aruba

These locations will all be removed from the approved travel list on 15 August.

The new quarantine rules will come into force from 4am on Saturday (15 August), meaning travellers returning to the UK will need to self-isolate for 14 days from this date.

This rule applies to travellers returning to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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