Scots returning from Greece to quarantine as of Thursday

1 September 2020, 20:09 | Updated: 1 September 2020, 20:29

Scottish holidaymakers returning from Greece will need to self-isolate for 14 days
Scottish holidaymakers returning from Greece will need to self-isolate for 14 days. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Scottish holidaymakers returning from Greece will need to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival as of Thursday morning.

The Scottish Government made the decision following a significant rise in Covid-19 cases being imported from the Mediterranean country.

Travellers will have until 4am on Thursday to return to Scotland before the measure comes into effect.

Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf 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.

"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."

Read more: Nicola Sturgeon promises new draft Bill for Indyref2

Evidence that the virus was being imported from the Greek islands has led to the country being removed from the safe travel corridor list, the Scottish Government said.

The decision comes despite the prevalence of Covid-19 in Greece remaining below 20 cases per 100,000 people, however a number of infections in Scotland can be traced back to travel to the Mediterranean country.

Countries tend to be added to the quarantine list when the figure rises above 20 per 100,000.

Scotland's chief medical officer Gregor Smith said: "There is a compelling public health risk around importation of the virus, especially given the number of imported cases linked to the Greek islands.

"The flow of travel between Scotland and Greece, and the behaviour we have seen from some of those travellers, means that on public health grounds there is a strong case - supported by public health directors - to remove Greece from the exemption list."

Read more: Glasgow tightens coronavirus restrictions after rise in cases

All international arrivals coming into Scotland - bar a limited number of individual exemptions - must complete a passenger locator form.

Those who fail to fill it out or present it when asked on arrival may be fined £60, with this figure being doubled for every subsequent offence up to a maximum of £480.

Failure to comply with the requirement to go into a 14-day quarantine may result in a fine of £480.

Meanwhile, holidaymakers returning to Wales from the Greek island of Zante will be asked to quarantine for 14 days and will be offered Covid-19 tests, the Welsh Government has said.

Health and social services minister Vaughan Gething said public officials had identified "multiple separate clusters" linked to the popular holiday island.

The first Tui flight affected will land tonight at Cardiff International Airport and passengers will be given a letter asking them to self-isolate for two weeks.

They will also be offered a coronavirus test within 48 hours of their arrival home and a repeat test eight days after returning.

Listen & subscribe: Global Player | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify