Government imposes quarantine rules on regionalised basis for the first time.
Travellers arriving in England the islands will now have to self-isolate for 14 days from 04:00 BST on September 9.
It is the first time the Department for Transport has used regionalised quarantine measures – something the travel industry has been calling for under the Save Future Travel campaign.
Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, said “enhanced data” had allowed the government to adopt this approach.
The Department for Transport said: “The first changes under the new process were also made today, with seven Greek islands to be removed from exemption list – Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Crete, Santorini and Zakynthos. People arriving in England from those islands from Wednesday 9 September 04.00am will need to self-isolate for two weeks. Data from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England has indicated a significant risk to UK public health from those islands, leading to ministers removing them from the current list of travel corridors.”
However, Paul Charles, of the Quash Quarantine campaign group, said: “I understand the current Thursday weekly review system of which countries will remain in quarantine, and be taken off, will continue. Portugal and Italy to next be reviewed then.”
The Foreign, Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated its travel advice for Greece to advise against all but essential travel to the above islands. The rest of Greece remains exempt from the FCO’s advice against all non-essential international travel.
Previously, it was announced those entering Wales from Crete, Zakynthos, Mykonos, Lesvos, Paros and Antiparos would have to self-isolate, as the Welsh government deviated from Whitehall for the first time over quarantine rules. Scotland has removed Greece from its travel corridors list entirely.
An ABTA spokesperson said: “ABTA has been calling for the government to take a regionalised approach to quarantine measures and Foreign Office travel advice to provide greater certainty for businesses and consumers. Today’s announcement regarding travel from specific islands to England is welcome and the industry hopes that this will in turn lead to a more targeted approach such as that adopted in Germany and the Netherlands, which would also reflect the UK’s domestic strategy of localised lockdowns. It also however highlights the requirement for a more coordinated approach from the home nations to prevent avoidable confusion.
“The travel industry has long been a powerhouse of economic growth and employment within the economy, yet it has been restricted by government measures which have slowed any recovery. With the right policy and regulatory support, such as a testing regime that enables travel to resume to the UK’s major global trading partners, and tailored financial support to get businesses through the crisis, the government can protect many more jobs that are otherwise at risk.”