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Is the UK About to Exclude Greek Islands from Safe Travel List?

UK quarantine
Tourists at the Acropolis. Credit: Greek Reporter

On Monday, reports emerged of a UK government insider who claims that the Greek islands would not be considered separate from the mainland regarding traveler quarantine regulations this Summer.

The UK is expected to announce which countries will be part of their coronavirus “travel corridor” this summer at some point this week.

Quarantine, multiple tests required on return to the UK

Britain is expected to announce a “Traffic Light” system to categorize the safety of vacation destinations for this summer. The announcement is planned for May 7th, less than two weeks before British residents will be allowed to travel once again.

Different traffic light colors will signify the varying quarantine lengths that will be necessary upon travelers’ return to the UK.

“Green light” countries will see travelers require a negative test before returning to the UK, as well as a PCR test two days after arrival. The countries on this list will not require a quarantine for travelers when they arrive back in the UK.

Of the most popular destinations in Europe for UK travelers, Portugal is the only one that may make the “Green” list for the beginning of summer. Other destinations likely to be on this list are Gibraltar, Malta, Israel, and Iceland.

“Amber” light nations will require 10 days of isolation upon return to the UK. Vacationers will also need a negative test before their return flight and two PCR tests after arrival — one on day two and the second on day eight.

Greece and its islands are likely to remain on this Amber list for the beginning of the Summer, despite hopes that islands could be considered separately from the mainland for “Green” status. An extraordinary amount of effort has been expended by the Greek government to make sure that they are as Covid-free as possible, including the inoculation of every single adult living on islands of less than 10,000 inhabitants.

A total of 85 islands encircling Greece will soon see all their residents vaccinated against the coronavirus ahead of the planned reopening of the country on May 14.

The plan for reopening calls for all the Greek islands — magnets for international travelers — to be covid-free destinations.

The move will on the one hand speed up the vaccination campaigns ongoing around the nation and bring the deeply-desired herd immunity point closer. Of course the knowledge that the Greek islands are basically Covid-free will be a significant advantage for the country on the worldwide stage.

Government vaccination program ahead of schedule

At the beginning of the vaccination campaign, the Greek health authorities’ plans included the vaccination of all those living on 69 islands with a population of up to 5,000 inhabitants by the end of April.

Now the inoculation program will be extended to include all Greek islands having up to 10,000 inhabitants, which will mean a total of 85.

Most of the popular European destinations for British travelers such as Spain and Italy will stay on the “Amber list”, joining Greece.

The “Red” list is set to be based on the current list of countries to which with travel is highly restricted. In order to enter the UK from one of these nations, travelers will need to be UK nationals or have residency status.

Upon return from Red countries, people will be required to quarantine in a quarantine hotel for 10 days, the cost of which is currently £1,750 ($2,428) and will hav not be none by th traveler. They will also be required to have a negative test before their return and then pundergo two PCR tests in the UK, on day two and eight of quarantine.

Quarantine on return from Greek islands

There are certain islands that the Greek government is planning on fully vaccinating before the tourism season, with every single adult resident inoculated. A total of eighty-five islands with populations under 10,000 will see all of their residents fully vaccinated as part of “Operation Freedom.”

These islands traditionally lure tourists from all over the world to Greece, and the campaign is an important effort to bolster one of the most important economic sectors in Greece.

This plan was put in place by the Greek government in the hopes that UK tourists who choose to go to one of these islands would not be required to quarantine by the British government.

The islands Minos and Kythnos have already vaccinated more than half of their population, which is triple the rate of vaccination on mainland Greece.

Despite regional differences in coronavirus rates, the UK government will likely be putting all of Greece on the “Amber” list, requiring UK travelers to quarantine upon their arrival back in the UK.

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