UK Restrictions Ease

The UK government announced today that fully-vaccinated visitors returning from Greece will no longer have to quarantine when they return home from 19th July 2021.  At present, travellers arriving from a country on the amber list are required to self-isolate on arrival.  UK residents who are fully vaccinated through the UK vaccine rollout only, will no longer have to isolate when they return to Great Britain.  Under earlier rules, those returning to Britain from its top destinations like Spain, France, USA, Italy, Cyprus and Greece, all had to self-isolate for up to 10 days.  The rule change will be a massive boost to airlines and the travel industry which has been decimated by 15 months of restrictions.  In Britain, nearly 65% of adults have been fully vaccinated, opening up travel for millions wanting to get a change of scene.

British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said, "Those who have received two jabs will no longer have to self-isolate for 10 days after their return to the UK . . . but will still have to take a PCR test on their second day back.  Travellers will still be required to take a test 3 days before returning, the pre-departure test (demonstrating they're negative before travel) and a PCR test on or before day 2, but they will no longer be required to take a day 8 test. In essence, this means that for fully-vaccinated travellers, the requirements for green and amber list countries are the same."  But he warned that present amber list countries could still turn red in the next couple of months.  Arrivals from red list countries are still required to quarantine in a UK government-approved hotel.

People returning to the UK from abroad could face peak-time airport queues of up to six hours when travel measures are eased.  The Immigration Service Union fear that the 'sheer number' of passengers arriving home and a shortage of Border Force officers would slow down checks.  Passengers will have to present 3 documents an addition to their passport, a passenger locator form, proof of recent Covid test and proof of being vaccinated at least 14 days previously.  From the moment that the quarantine easing restrictions were announced, travel agents throughout the UK reported that holiday bookings were going 'through the roof', with many people wanting to 'get away'.

The UK Government has dubbed Monday 19th July as 'Freedom Day', ending over a year of coronavirus lockdown restrictions for its fully vaccinated citizens.  These new rules apply to all countries on the UK amber list, apart from its nearest neighbour, France.  

On the same day, Greek health authorities announced plans to restrict bars, restaurants and entertainment venues to seated-only clients in an effort to stem the more contagious Delta variant of the Coronavirus.  The new restrictions come as government officials attribute the spike in new cases to youngsters and are linked to entertainment.  Greek PM said that he refuses to shut down the country again.  "Everyone has to assume responsibility, the country will not close again for the protection of a few unvaccinated".