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Greece Remains on UK Amber List After Third Review

Greece UK amber list
Sailboat in Skopelos Harbor. Credit: Patricia Claus/Greek Reporter.

Greece remains on the UK’s “amber list” for travel, meaning that tourists will be required to quarantine upon their return to the UK, following the publication of the government’s revised lists on Friday.

This news is a big blow to the Greek tourism industry, which relies on the UK for much of its profit as the third largest single market for tourists to Greece.

Greece stays on UK amber list

UK tourism is a huge contributor to the 25 percent of Greece’s GDP which comes directly from the industry, as 3,499,325 people visited Greece from the country in 2019.

However, it seems that numbers are likely to be significantly lower for the first part of summer 2021, as UK tourists may choose to vacation somewhere where they are not forced to quarantine after they return to the UK.

“Amber” light nations like Greece require 10 days of isolation upon return to the UK. Vacationers 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 are still considered part of the Amber list.

This news comes as a huge blow, particularly since there have been multiple developments, such as the improving coronavirus situation in the nation and mass-vaccination campaigns on the islands, which many believed would clinch Greece a place on the coveted “Green list.”

The UK government reviews its travel regulations every three weeks, meaning Greece’s next chance to make it on to the Green list is July 16, well into the normal Summer tourist season.

UK uses strict travel guidelines

“Green list” countries require travelers to test negative before returning to the UK, and undergo a PCR test two days after arrival. The countries on this list do 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 Gibraltar, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands. During the most recent review, Malta was the only country added to this list.

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.

However, a new list was announced today, named the “Green watchlist.” These are countries for which the UK currently has no quarantine requirement but whose current case loads make their place on the Green list precarious.

Israel, Madeira, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Balearics were placed on this list on Friday.

The harshest tier is the “Red list,” from which travelers should not return to the UK unless it is entirely unavoidable. Tourists returning from Red list countries are expected to quarantine in government-approved hotels for 11 nights.

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