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Published on Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Concern for agents as Scotland puts Greece back on the no-go list



 






 


The Scottish Passenger Agents' Association has warned that it is 'extremely concerned' about the workload being put on agents after the government reintroduced a quarantine requirement for holidaymakers returning from Greece.



Arrivals will have to self-isolate for 14 days when returning to Scotland from Greece and its islands from 04:00 tomorrow.


At the same time, the Welsh government is asking arrivals from the Greek island of Zante to quarantine for 14 days.



No similar move has yet been announced for England, but the UK government is likely to reveal change to its list of 'travel corridors' on Thursday afternoon following its weekly review.


Wales' health minister Vaughan Gething said he would be pressing the UK Government for an urgent meeting to consider the potential risk in Greece.



But SPAA Vice President Mike Tibbert pointed out the sudden and frequent changes to quarantine rules are putting agents under pressure.


"Although the Scottish government has warned that the so-called safe list is fluid and flexible and can change at any time, we're extremely concerned about the workload that is being put on our travel agent members with each change," he said.



"Travellers naturally do not want to lose out on a holiday they have paid for and many have made multiple changes to their destinations and dates throughout the safe list/quarantine changes.



"Our members have made these changes for clients often with very little notice, sometimes overnight and always under extreme pressure. Our members receive no income for making these changes.



"The removal of Greece in this ongoing hokey cokey of countries which are 'in or out' means it's impossible for Scots to plan or reorganise a holiday which they have already paid for. And equally impossible for our members to run a business."


While cases in Greece remain lower than 20 per 100,000 people - compared to the UK's 25 per 100,000 - a number of infections north of the border have been linked to the Greek islands in particular, officials said.


Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: "We are in the midst of a global pandemic and the situation in many countries can change suddenly. Therefore, people should think very hard before committing to non-essential travel abroad.


"With Scotland's relatively low infection rate, importation of new cases from Greece is a significant risk to public health.



"We continue to closely monitor the situation in all parts of the world and base the decisions we make on the scientific evidence available.


"Regular discussions continue with the other three governments in the UK.


"Requiring travellers arriving from a non-exempt country to quarantine for 14 days on arrival is vital to helping prevent transmission of the virus and to suppress it."


 


By Linsey McNeill, Editor (UK)


 

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