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Quarantine confusion after Scotland kicks Greece off the safe list

Written by: Emma Lunn
Travellers from Greece entering Scotland are required to self-isolate for two weeks – but no changes have been made to the rules in England.

Anyone flying into Scotland from Greece from 4am this morning is required to quarantine for two weeks, due to a “significant rise” in cases of coronavirus being imported into Scotland by people who have been in Greece.

The Scottish government said that although the prevalence of Covid-19 in Greece currently remains lower than 20 per 100,000, a number of cases of the virus in Scotland can be traced back to travel to Greece.

Humza Yousaf, Scottish justice secretary, said: “We are in the midst of a global pandemic and the situation in many countries can change suddenly. Therefore, people should think very hard before committing to non-essential travel abroad. With Scotland’s relatively low infection rate, importation of new cases from Greece is a significant risk to public health. I would also encourage people who have returned to Scotland from Greece in the last few days to be particularly careful in their social contacts and to ensure they stick to the facts.

“We continue to closely monitor the situation in all parts of the world and base the decisions we make on the scientific evidence available. Regular discussions continue with the other three governments in the UK.

“Requiring travellers arriving from a non-exempt country to quarantine for 14 days on arrival is vital to helping prevent transmission of the virus and to suppress it. More details about what this means can be found on the Scottish Government website.”

Meanwhile the Welsh government has announced that all passengers returning to Wales from the Greek island of Zante must self-isolate. Those arriving in Wales from Zante will be offered a coronavirus test within 48 hours of their return and then a repeat test eight days after returning home.

The move comes after Public Health Wales confirmed at least 16 cases of Covid-19 from three different parties were on a Tui flight to Cardiff on 25 August.

However, there have been no changes to travel advice for people arriving in England from Greece or the Greek islands. Restrictions for Greece were lifted in England in July when international exemptions were first permitted.

Rory Boland, Which? Travel editor, said: “Yet again haphazard announcements and rumours around quarantine have sparked chaos and confusion for holidaymakers, with many facing an unenviable choice between paying extortionate prices for last-minute flights home or the disruption caused by two weeks in isolation on their return.

“When the dust settles on what has been a disappointing summer for so many people, it’s clear that a reassessment of the government’s approach to managing the threat posed by coronavirus to holiday travel will be needed.

“The travel industry will also need greater government support to make it through the tough months ahead, while major reforms will be needed to restore confidence among holidaymakers who have often been left out of pocket and with nowhere to turn for support when the pandemic has left their travel plans in tatters.”

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