Island-specific quarantine rules to be introduced
“Regional travel corridors” will mean there could be different quarantine rules for travellers returning from different islands or regions of a country.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is due to announce the rule change later today which differs from the whole-country approach the government has taken regarding coronavirus quarantine so far.
As part of the new rules, Shapps said that seven Greek islands will be dropped from the UK’s “travel corridor” list.
From 4am on 9 September, travellers returning to the UK from the Greek islands of Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Crete, Santorini and Zakynthos must quarantine for 14 days.
The announcement is for England only, as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are responsible for their own quarantine rules.
The new advice for England echoes that of the Welsh government which last week added some Greek islands to its quarantine list and exempted several Portuguese islands.
The government introduced quarantine rules in May then started relaxing quarantine restrictions in June. Spain was removed from the exempted countries list in July and France, Malta and the Netherlands in August.
The move to introduce regional travel corridors follows anger and confusion from some holidaymakers returning from islands where the coronavirus infection rate is low – but being forced to quarantine on return to the UK because the country they have visited is not on the UK’s safe list.
This was the case in July when Spain was kicked off the safe list, meaning holidaymakers who’d been to the Canary or Balearic Islands had to self-isolate on return to the UK, despite the low infection rate on the holiday islands which are hundreds of miles from the Spanish mainland.
The announcement is set to be made as pressure grows on the government to introduce coronavirus testing at airports to negate the need for lengthy self-isolation restrictions on entering the UK.