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Published on Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Greece and Israel first countries to confirm free access for vaccinated tourists

Greece and Israel will become two of the first countries in the world to allow vaccinated tourists quarantine-free access, most likely from late March or early April.

The announcement will put the UK Government under pressure to reconsider the introduction of 'vaccine passports' for those who've received Covid-19 jabs.

The UK's vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi told the BBC on Sunday that the Government had no plans for a vaccine passport.

He said that if holidaymakers needed proof of their vaccine to travel, they could contact their GP for confirmation.

However, it is not clear if GPs will be able to provide proof for patients who were vaccinated elsewhere, or if they will be able to charge for the service.

On Monday, Greece and Israel announced a deal to recognise each others' 'vaccine passports' to allow those who have been inoculated to move freely between the two countries.

Speaking at a press conference, the countries' two Prime Ministers confirmed vaccinated arrivals would not need to provide a Covid test or self-isolate.

Israel has already vaccinated a greater percentage of its population than any other country, ahead of both the United Arab Emirates and the UK.

However its borders remain closed until 20 February and it is not expected to allow overseas tourists until the end of March at the earliest.

According to local media, Israel is also discussing a travel corridor with the UK for vaccinated passengers, once it re-opens its borders, but this has not been confirmed.

Meanwhile, further details of the UK's planned tougher border controls, including a mandatory hotel quarantine and the possibility of triple-testing arrivals from the highest risk countries, are expected to be announced by Health Secretary Matt Hancock this afternoon.

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