Holidaymaker says Santorini ‘very safe’ as island joins Wales’ quarantine list

A holidaymaker has described the Welsh Government’s decision to add the Greek island of Santorini to its quarantine list at short notice as “absolutely crazy”.

The measure, which also applies to Serifos and Tinos, was announced shortly before 10pm on Tuesday and came into force from 4am on Wednesday.

Health minister Vaughan Gething said the decision followed assessments by the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC).

One holidaymaker from Cardiff, who is currently in Santorini, told the PA news agency: “It’s very safe here and only one reported case here, so I just cannot get my head around the drastic measures enforced by the Welsh Government.

“They haven’t even given any time to try and get an earlier flight home.

“I got the news with four hours to spare so I have no choice but to self-isolate at home now for 14 days when I land on Thursday night.”

The woman, who asked not to be named, said that quarantining meant she would be unable to see a family member who had fallen seriously ill and was in hospital.

“I don’t understand why it is deemed such a risk here,” she said.

“Especially when there is such a small amount of Welsh people here in Santorini currently.”

Weekly rate of new Covid-19 cases in Wales
(PA Graphics)

The Welsh Government said on Twitter that the decision was due to a “rising number” of coronavirus cases in the named Greek islands.

Mr Gething has previously said that an “element” of coronavirus transmission in Wales is from people travelling back from Europe.

Wales has seen the highest number of positive Covid-19 cases in months and a local lockdown, expected to last until at least October, came into force in Caerphilly county borough on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Public Health Wales reported that 165 people had tested positive for coronavirus, representing the highest daily figure since May 20.

There were no further deaths in people with the virus, with the total in Wales since the beginning of the pandemic remaining at 1,597.

Shoppers walk around the stores in Caerphilly
Shoppers walk around the stores in Caerphilly (Ben Birchall/PA)

Dr Giri Shankar, of Public Health Wales, said: “Anyone returning to Wales from countries which have been identified as high risk must quarantine in accordance with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office regulations even if they are not experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms or have had a negative test result.”

He said many of the new infections had been transmitted due to a lack of social distancing and urged people to take “extra care” when meeting others indoors.

Last Thursday, the Welsh Government introduced the measure for Portugal, Gibraltar, French Polynesia and six other Greek islands – Mykonos, Zakynthos, Lesbos, Paros, Antiparos and Crete.

Speaking at the time, Mr Gething said there has been a “rising tide of infections” from the Greek islands and the quarantine requirement is necessary to keep Wales safe.

And on Monday, the UK Government added the Greek islands of Crete, Lesbos, Mykonos, Santorini, Serifos, Tinos and Zakynthos to its quarantine list.

This forms part of the UK Government’s new regional approach to quarantine policy, in which islands can be added or removed from the quarantine list should infection rates differ from their mainland countries.

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