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British holidaymakers will be subject to a quarantine on arriving in Greece, unless they have travelled from certain UK airports.
This morning the Greek tourism minister Harry Theoharis said the restrictions on people arriving from most UK airports will make a holiday in Greece ‘difficult’.
Anyone flying into Greece from an airport deemed by the EU’s aviation safety agency (EASA) to be an area with “high risk of transmission of Covid-19” will face a coronavirus test, and compulsory quarantine of at least seven days, regardless of the result. This includes major hubs of Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham and Manchester airports.
Some UK airports, however, including Bristol, Edinburgh and London Southend, are not on the EASA list.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, Mr Theoharis clarified how the quarantine system will work. “For the rest of the airports, testing is mandatory and for a single day you wait for the test results.
“If it is a negative result, then it is effectively a self-imposed quarantine of seven days but you can go ahead to your destination.
“If, however, it is a positive result then it is a supervised quarantine for longer than seven days.” He added: “It does mean that there is an inconvenience in the first few days.
“That’s why this is not going to be for the masses. It has to mean you have more time.”
Yesterday, Greece was forced to confront the risks of rebooting international tourism, after authorities found that 12 out of 91 passengers on board a Qatar Airlines flight to Athens had tested positive for Covid-19.
The Greek civil protection ministry reacted by suspending all air links to and from Qatar until June 15, and put all 91 passengers on the flight into quarantine.
“We knew there would be such cases. We’ve seen what can happen this summer,” said Prof Nikolaos Sipsas, an expert in infectious diseases.
“The safest [thing] would be not to open up to tourism but that would mean huge economic destruction,” said Sipsas. “The first thing we have to do is divide countries of origin into safe and unsafe [categories]. That creates certain diplomatic pressure, but for us the first priority is public health.”
As it stands, anyone arriving into the UK (including returning holidaymakers) after June 8 will be subject to a 14-day quarantine. The FCO advises against all but essential travel.
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