Eddie Mair 4pm - 7pm
Seven Greek islands placed on England travel quarantine list
7 September 2020, 16:05 | Updated: 7 September 2020, 18:03
Anyone entering England from the Greek islands of Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Crete, Santorini or Zakynthos will have to quarantine after 0400 on Wednesday.
However, mainland Greece will remain a travel corridor.
The new restrictions were announced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and will apply to Lesvos, Serifos, Tinos, Mykonos, Crete, Santorini and Zakynthos.
Anyone entering into England from these areas will face fines of up to £1,000 if they do not self-isolate for 14 days.
Last week Scotland imposed restrictions on all passengers from Greece, after a number of cases of the virus were traced back to passengers from the country.
Similar to England this includes travellers from Lesvos, Mykonos, Crete and Zakynthos, however the Welsh government has added Paros and Antiparos, rather than Tinos and Santorini.
Mr Shapps said new data from the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) revealed that, while the coronavirus level across Greece remained low, “some of the islands are well outside of the parameters."
The new targeted “islands policy” is the first instance of foreign regions being removed from quarantine restrictions separately from the country as a whole.
The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) has now been commissioned to assess the most popular island destinations for British tourists.
However, Mr Shapps told MPs the data showing infections within countries is "too patchy" to have regional quarantine arrangements at the moment.
The Department for Transport said: “Any changes will only apply to land that has a clear boundary or border where there is robust, reliable and internationally comparable data available.
“The island must also have direct flights to the UK or at a minimum, transport must have taken place through exempt territories.”
Despite the new additions to the quarantine list, the policy has been welcomed by the travel industry.
A Heathrow Airport spokeswoman said they “welcome the Transport Secretary's announcement... that air bridges to islands will now be instated where appropriate.”
Mr Shapps added: "This development will help boost the UK's travel industry while continuing to maintain maximum protection to public health, keeping the travelling public safe.”
However, the Minister stressed that travelling during coronavirus "is not without risk" and warned holidaymakers to travel with their "eyes open".