A British mother recently took off for a Greek holiday with her children against the advice of the UK government, which has placed Greece on its cautionary “Amber List” of countries, in which returnees must quarantine upon arrival back home.
The mother said she did so because her kids “deserve a holiday.”
Interviewed by ITV at the airport as she was leaving, the mother explained that their vacation to Greece last year had been cancelled and she and her kids were going, regardless of the outcome. The mother told ITV “It was (my son’s) first holiday and it got cancelled last year. He was really excited so I said ‘we’re going’ whether it is going to be awkward or not.”
She then told interviewers that her children “deserve a holiday.”
Greece, despite its most stringent efforts to inoculate as many island residents and tourist workers as quickly as possible, was placed on the dreaded “Amber List” in May by UK health authorities, meaning that those who did go would have to quarantine upon arrival back home.
The “Green light” countries, with no quarantining needed, only amounted to a handful of nations across the world — with Portugal the only European country among them. All the other nations were small islands scattered around the globe.
Greece holiday plans upended for many as country still on Amber List
Due to be updated every three weeks, there was no budging on the list by the British government after the initial three weeks were up.
Countries on the UK’s Amber List require a mandatory 10-day quarantine for travelers after returning home, as well as Covid tests on the second day and eight day after arrival back in the UK.
Despite the Amber listing, thousands of British travelers have swarmed to typical holiday destinations such as Greece and Spain after a year spent in various stages of lockdowns. Many have already arrived in the British tourist haven of Corfu.
They have not been completely banned from travel but have been discouraged from doing so, with the quarantine at the end of the holiday believed to have served as a sufficient deterrent.
Countries on the “Red list,” to which travel is expressly banned, include South Africa, the UAE and other countries. The lists are due to be revisited on Monday, June 7.
Greek tourist industry figures have charged that confusing travel advice, coupled with the mandatory coronavirus tests — which can cost hundreds of pounds per person — have in many cases dissuaded Brits from returning to their beloved Greece in 2021 so far.
“Traffic light” lists to be revisited on June 7
Greece has launched an extensive campaign designed to welcome travelers back to the country, embarking on an ambitious inoculation campaign for everyone, regardless of age, who works in the tourist industry, and across-the-board inoculations for all island residents.
The country is continuing to undergo a vaccination program for all island residents with populations over 10,000 after a successful campaign to vaccinate all those who lived on islands with less than 10,000 residents.
New beach rules call for all sun loungers to be placed 4 meters (12 feet) apart; non sic, either live or recorded, is being played this year in public places since the music encourages people to move closer together and raise their voices, increasing the chances of exchanging coronavirus particles.
Greece has welcomed tourists since May 14, when it flung open its doors to the world again after a punishing tourism year in 2020.
When asked by interviewers what they thought about flouting the “Amber list” rules, they maintained that they didn’t comprise “a government law,” before adding “Even though they are advising us not to go, my kids deserve a holiday, so we’re here.”
The mother then noted “It wasn’t a red country; we’ve done everything by the book.”
Another British tourist told ITV that the situation would have been different if they had been older or had health issues, but they didn’t, so they had decided to go forward with their holiday plans to visit Corfu.
In remarks last week, a spokesman for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson stood firm, saying “Our advice hasn’t changed in regards to Amber list countries.
“We have been clear that people shouldn’t be travelling to amber list countries for the purposes of holidays.”
Just the week prior, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the press that people should not travel to amber countries “except for essential reasons.”
Later this week, travel mavens believe there will be an update to the “traffic light” system in the UK, with Spanish islands, as well as Malta and Jamaica, expected to make the grade on the Green List.
However, the PC Agency’s Paul Charles states that he believes that Greece will not be included in this coveted group.
In the meantime, four additional countries will soon be placed on the “Red list” as the variants make their way across the globe, according to a report out of the UK on Tuesday.
Robert Boyle predicted British vacationers are likely to be banned from flying to Bahrain, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago and Kuwait due to the Covid situation still prevalent there, acorsingto a report from Britain’s The Sun newspaper.
Spanish authorities, however, said they are still continuing to welcome British travelers despite countries — including Germany and France — banning those from the UK due to the prevalence of the Indian variant there.
New terminal for passengers to/from India at Heathrow
Heathrow Airport officials announced that a new terminal dedicated to passengers coming from or leaving for India has been opened after weeks went by with planeloads of Indian passengers coming through the airport as the variant prevalent in that country spread further and further in the UK.
As of June 1, this is the complete “Red list” of countries to which travel has been banned by the UK:
The Democratic Republic of the Congo
United Arab Emirates