Greek islands added to quarantine-free list


Five Greek islands have been added to the Government's quarantine exemption list, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.

Arrivals in England from Lesvos, Santorini, Serifos, Tinos and Zakynthos – also known as Zante – will no longer have to self-isolate for 14 days from 4am on Saturday following a decrease in cases.

No countries are being removed from the travel corridor list.

Italy maintains its exemption despite currently recording a seven-day rate of 31.6 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people.

A rate of 20 is the threshold above which ministers have considered triggering quarantine conditions.

But the policy may be changing as the UK's own rate now exceeds 150.

Wales and Northern Ireland have separate lists of Greek islands which are exempt, whereas Scotland imposes restrictions on arrivals from the whole of the country.

On Wednesday, the Government unveiled a task force to develop a coronavirus testing system for travellers arriving in the UK.

The group will identify options to reduce the self-isolation period.

The UK's travel sector has repeatedly called for testing at airports to be introduced as a way of reducing quarantine periods for those who get a negative result.

Meanwhile, Italy has introduced compulsory coronavirus testing for UK visitors.

Minister of health Roberto Speranza announced that arrivals from European countries "at greater risk for Covid-19" – such as the UK, France and Spain – must provide evidence of a negative test taken in the 72 hours prior to travel.

Visitors unable to provide proof of a negative result at the border have to take a test in Italy.

Some airports offer free tests. Travellers are not be allowed to leave until they have received their result.

Anyone who tests positive is quarantined until two consecutive negative results are recorded.

The UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said: "The time spent in quarantine can vary greatly from a few days to several weeks. Travellers should be prepared for this eventuality."

Visitors who arrive at airports where testing is not available are required to self-isolate and take a test at an alternative facility within 48 hours.

Fines can be issues to people who do not comply.