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UK Unlikely to Remove Greece — or its Islands — From Quarantine List

Uk quarantine list
Greece is unlikely to be taken off the UK’s quarantine list. Credit: Greek Reporter

The UK is most likely going to keep Greece and its islands on its mandatory quarantine upon return list, even following the first review of the regulations, which will take place on June 7.

Great Britain’s “Green list” currently includes only 12 destinations for which a lengthy quarantine is not mandatory for travelers when they return to the UK.

UK Quarantine List

The UK government has issued a tiered list of countries, ranging from good-to-go “Green list” countries all the way to “Red list” countries, which should not be visited at all unless travel is unavoidable.

“Green list” countries will require travelers to test negative before returning to the UK, as well as undergo 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.

The decision of the UK’s Ministry of Transport stated that tourists from the UK are only able to travel freely to Portugal, Gibraltar, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands.

The same list also includes small islands in the South Georgia and the South Sandwich archipelago, as well as the islands of Agia Eleni, Tristan de Cunha and Ascension Island.

“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. In this tier, there is also the option to take a PCR test on day five of quarantine in order to be allowed to exit quarantine early, which could be a relief for British travelers returning from Greece.

Unfortunately, Greece and its islands have been place on the Amber list despite hopes that islands could be considered separately from the mainland for “Green” status.

Even following a highly ambitious and successful vaccination campaign on islands to make them coronavirus “safe havens,” the UK continues to see them as not distinct from the mainland. According to recent reports, this is unlikely to change when the UK government revisits its lists on June 7.

Furthermore, the UK quarantine list came with the warning that ministers expect even “Amber list” countries to be treated as not viable options for vacation.

“It is very, very clear – you should not be going to an ‘Amber list’ country except for some extreme circumstance, such as the serious illness of a family member. You should not be going to an ‘Amber list’ country on holiday,” said Boris Johnson during the Prime Minister’s Question Time on May 19.

British Airways petitions the government

The United Kingdom’s flagship carrier British Airways — along with Heathrow Airport — joined forces on Monday, May 17 in asking the UK government to open up more routes for international travel and add more countries to its Green List category.

In addition, the officials at both BA and Heathrow urged the government to simplify the procedures that are currently in place in order to travel internationally.

Heathrow officials stated that the limited reopening of international tourism in the UK allowed a total of 11,000 people to fly out on Monday; this represents a meaningful increase over the 7,000 who flew per day last week.

However, it is a paltry number compared with the usual 120,000 air passengers who normally flew each day in pre-pandemic times.

British Airways acknowledged that it was able to operate barely a fraction of the 200 flights every day that used to leave British airspace for sunnier climes during previous years.

Both the BA officials and those from Heathrow urged the UK government to add Greece, Spain, the United States, the Caribbean, and France onto its list of “Green Light” countries before the summer comes.

Unfortunately, it seems as though these petitions have failed to make the government reconsider, with the UK likely to leave Greece and its islands on its quarantine list well into June.

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