Published on Thursday, October 8, 2020

Greek islands added to corridor as quarantine approach changes

Five Greek islands have been added to the UK's travel corridor with no countries removed, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced.

Travellers from Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Santorini and Zakynthos will no longer have to quarantine from 4am on Saturday.

Shapps said no destinations have been removed. 

The retention of Italy, Sweden and Estonia in the safe travel list will surprise many.

As in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, infection rates in all three countries have spiked, creating an expectation that returning travellers would need to quarantine from this weekend.

But observers said the approach from the Joint Biosecurity Centre has changed, with officials concluding there is little point adding destinations to the quarantine list which have far lower rates of infection than the UK.

However, travel from the UK to Italy was already impacted earlier today when Italian authorities said UK tourists must either produce a negative test on arrival or take a test within 48 hours of entering the country. 

The Department of Transport said in a statement: "The JBC's latest risk assessment for these Greek islands indicates that the risks to UK public health from travellers returning from these destinations has decreased to an acceptable level.

"A range of factors are taken into account when deciding to add or remove a destination from the exemption list, including the continued increase of coronavirus within an area, the numbers of new cases, information on a destination's testing capacity, testing regime and test positivity rate and potential trajectory of the disease in the coming weeks."

By Steve Jones, Contributing Editor

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