Greece reported 230 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, August 15, the biggest increase the country has seen yet. The Government bases its travel corridor agreements on infection rates, and has taken many countries including France, Spain, and the Netherlands off the approved destination list due to increased infection rates.
The Government moves countries to the quarantine list when their infection rates reach 20 per 100,000 or more for seven days.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he will be “ruthless” in adding countries to the banned list, and proved this with his decision to put France on the list last week.
About 400,000 Brits abroad in France had to scramble home after the announcement was made on Thursday, since the new rules would come into play just 30 hours later.
This meant holidaymakers who couldn’t make it home before this date would need to quarantine for 14 days when they arrived in the UK.
Children affected will miss the beginning of the school year, and adults will be forced to stay at home instead of attending work.
Greece travel advice: Greece could be next to be added to the quarantine list
Greece travel advice: Greece has seen a sharp increase in cases
An increase in infections in Greece has led people to speculate that the country will be next on the travel quarantine list along with Croatia.
Greece’s infection rate is at 22.5 per 100,000, a rate higher than the UK’s 20.7 per 100,000.
These figures are calculated from a 14-day cumulative number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000.
The rate has spiked after tourist season opened in Greece on June 13, bringing an influx of foreigners into the country.
Greece now has a total of 7,222 cases, with 3,188 of these active.
Greece travel advice: You can still visit Greece at present
Can you travel to Greece?
Despite the rising infection rate, you can travel to Greece right now without needing to quarantine on return.
However, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise is “being kept under constant review.”
The FCO also states: “Travel disruption is still possible and national control measures may be brought in with little notice.”
Travelling to Greece doesn’t come without its restrictions, either.
When travelling to Greece you need to complete something called a Passenger Locator Form and do so at least 24 hours before you travel.
If you don’t, your carrier may not allow you to travel or you could be fined €500 on arrival in Greece.
The Greek authorities may not even allow you to enter the country, so this step is absolutely essential.
If you are travelling as a household, you have to include the details of all adults and children on one form.
If you are travelling with people from outside of your household, you should fill out your own forms individually.
However, you must check with your airline before you fill out the form because some airlines require individual forms for every traveller over 18 years old within the same household.
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New restrictions have been put in place in specific areas in Greece, including the island of Poros, Crete, East Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Halkidiki, Mykonos, Corfu, Santorini and more.
These rules include closing all food and catering shops, services and facilities, a limitation on the number of people allowed at a gathering, and the mandatory use of masks indoors and outdoors.
Some areas have even banned restaurant and entertainment venues until September.
Check the full details here.
Greece travel advice: There are lots of restrictions in place in Greece
Is Greece on UK quarantine list?
Greece is currently not on the UK quarantine list, but the Government has not denied that the country could be added to the list.
A spokesperson for Downing Street commented: “We continue to keep these rules under constant review and we publish a list of the countries and territories that we are concerned about. You’ll have seen the last update as of last week.
“We’ve always said that protecting public health remains our top priority, which is why it is important that when we make changes to the exemptions list we do so in a swift way.
“While these changes we understand can be disruptive, it is right that we take quick action to prevent cases being imported into the UK.”
Public Health England has said the risk assessment for each country is based on a number of trends, not just infection rate.
This means incidence in deaths, prevalence, and information on a country’s testing capacity and positive test rate.
PHE also takes into consideration the government’s actions, and the quality of the data available.
Gkikas Magiorkinis, an assistant professor of hygiene and epidemiology at Athens University and top infectious disease expert has said Greece is now in its second wave.
He said: “This is the point that we could win or lose the battle.”
Keep your eyes peeled on the FCO advise to find out whether or not Greece will be scrapped from the travel corridor list.