Greece Taken Off Scotland Travel Corridor List
As speculation mounts that Portugal could become the next country to be added to the UK quarantine, Greece has been removed from the Scotland travel corridor list.
People returning to Scotland from the popular summer travel destination will have to quarantine themselves for 14 days or else risk incurring a fine. The new measures will be implemented at 4am on Thursday 3 September.
Scotland Travel Corridor List – Independent Action
This is not the first time that the Scotland safe travel corridor list has differed from the UK’s. The nation removed Switzerland from its safe travel list a week before the rest of the UK did on 29 August.
Announcing the independent action Humza Yousaf, Scotland Justice Secretary, said, “With Scotland’s relatively low infection rate, importation of new cases from Greece is a significant risk to public health.”
This follows 16 people testing positive for COVID-19 after returning to Cardiff on a TUI flight from the Greek island. Travellers reported that their fellow passengers on the fight flaunted rules by wearing face masks incorrectly and walking along the aisle to chat with friends.
TUI has now cancelled all its holidays to the Laganas resort on Zante from 3 September, refunding customers who had bought a trip to the resort after that date.
Wales Calls for United Action
Vaughan Gething, the Welsh Health Minister, reported that six COVID-19 clusters with 30 people infected are related to people returning to the Principality from Zante.
He called on the UK government to pull forward the usual meeting of the devolved nations from Thursday to Wednesday to discuss removing Greece from the safe travel list.
Talking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the Greek tourism minister, Haris Theoharis, observed that Greece had a lower infection rate than the UK, and that it’s targeted approach had been successful in dealing with coronavirus hotspots in the past.
“We’re doing everything in our power to ensure that every person that comes from the UK is kept safe in Greece,” he said.
Concerns about the UK Approach
In the past the UK has removed countries from its safe travel corridor list when it has passed the 20 cases per 100,000 threshold.
According to the BBC, despite the number of infections related to British holidaymakers returning from Greece, the country had only 14 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days leading to the end of August.
Just last week Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Jamaica were added to the UK quarantine list. Previously, France, the Netherlands, Malta, Belgium and Spain were also removed due to a rise in incidence of COVID-19 within the countries.
Many observers, including Willie Walsh, the CEO of International Airlines Group, the owners of BA, have questioned the efficacy of the Government’s inflexible yet constantly revolving approach.
On 1 September a group of professionals from the travel industry presented the government with a letter urging them to change their policies in order to save the travel industry.
The full UK quarantine exemption list can be found here.