UK 'red-lists' some islands

Seven Greek islands have been added to the list of countries from which travellers must quarantine when entering England to try to curb the spread of the Coronavirus.  Improved access to data means that the British Government can now decide rules on an island-by-island basis depending on Covid-19 infection rates.  From Wednesday 9th September, passengers arriving from Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Crete, Santorini and Zakynthos will have to quarantine for 14 days on arrival in England.  The British Government says Greek islands can be treated differently from the Greek mainland (which is not affected by this announcement) if infection rates differ.  Many of these 7 selected Greek islands tend to attract young partygoing visitors who have a disregard for face-masks and social distancing.

Some 60,000 Britons are scrambling to get back home from these seven islands that were added to the UK’s quarantine list, before restrictions take effect at 04:00 a.m. on Wednesday.  According to British newspapers, holidaymakers were blindsided by the announcement on Monday by the UK Transport Secretary, as the measure was announced in response to a spike in Corinavirus infections, particulary in Crete, Mykonos and Zakynthos.

The Welsh Government has different quarantine rules from the UK Government, only people returning from Crete, Mykonos, Zakynthos, Lesvos, Paros and Antiparos will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.  Restrictions also apply to Portugal, Gibraltar and French Polynesia.

The Scottish Government had already red-listed the whole of Greece, requiring travellers to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival, as a large number of cases of the virus in Scotland can be traced back to travel to Greece.  The flow of travel between Scotland and Greece, and the behaviour from some of those travellers whilst on holiday, means that on public health grounds there was a strong case to remove the whole of Greece from the exemption list.  

The Dutch Government has placed Greece’s islands on its orange list of destinations approved for essential travel only.  According to the directive, citizens of The Netherlands are “strongly discouraged” from traveling to the Greek islands and those who do will be subjected to 10 days of self-isolation on their return. The Dutch Foreign Ministry directive also advises that while citizens planning to travel to mainland Greece and the Peloponnese recreationally should not cancel their plans, they should exercise caution and abide by health safety regulations.

From Saturday 10th October, passengers arriving in England from Tinos, Serifos, Lesvos, Santorini and Zakinthos will no longer need to self-isolate, if they have not been in or transited through any other non-exempt countries in the previous 14 days.