The halt to global travel has proved devastating to a Mediterranean country such as Greece, where tourism makes up as much as 30 percent of economic output and commands up to one in five jobs. The country welcomed a record 33 million visitors last year, and for many islands tourism is the main source of private sector employment.
When can I go to Greece?
Greece will let tourists back into the country – but not British ones for the time being.
Greece has been successful in managing coronavirus, having had only 191 deaths to the UK’s 42,000 plus.
Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis confirmed the news today, and reportedly said in a meeting with other Greek officials that “the whole opening procedure is dynamic and the data will be continuously evaluated.”
- Martin Lewis warning: Big summer holiday mistake Britons should avoid
For now, it is expected travellers from the UK will be able to enter Greece from July 15 onwards.
Random testing will also be taking place at all ports for those permitted to enter.
Keen holidaymakers have been booking trips abroad in droves since the UK Government announced air bridges would be coming into action on July 6.
Travel operators Tui and Hay’s Travel have both reported record demand in the last week after months of next to no business.
Tui, the UK’s biggest tour operator, was due to serve four Greek islands when it resumes holidays for UK customers on July 11.
The first tranche of the UK’s air bridges will be with other European short haul destinations, with some of the most popular summer holiday destinations included, such as France, Spain and Germany.
Ministers are currently examining at least one long-haul “air bridge” to Australia, although there are difficulties over transiting in stop-over countries which could risk more spread.
Ministers are also looking create bridges with “low-risk” British territories including Gibraltar, Bermuda, Montserrat and the Falklands Islands as soon as possible.
Turkey travel news: Is Turkey on lockdown? Can we fly to Turkey yet?
Travel guide: Which countries are open to tourists? Full list
France holidays: When can we fly to France?
- Airbridge announcement: When will air bridges be announced?
Once air bridges come into place, the Government is expected to use a traffic light system that will classify countries depending on their prevalence of coronavirus.
‘Green’ will mean they are safer than the UK, ‘amber’ meaning less safe, and ‘red’ will mean arrivals will still need to self isolate on return from that country.
At the same time, the current Foreign Office travel warning against all but essential international travel will be lifted for relevant countries
The official list of air bridges will be announced tomorrow, June 30.
Greece was expected to be part of the list, however the Greek Government has announced this afternoon it will not be allowing travellers from the UK until July 15 at the earliest.
Portugal was also expecting to be on the list but as the country currently has a higher rate of infections than the UK, it has been left off for the time being.
The list of permitted destinations will remain in flux if necessary, with what is described as a “strict handbrake mechanism”, meaning any sudden outbreak of coronavirus in certain countries – or even in particular parts of a country – could require travellers to quarantine for two weeks upon returning to the UK.
The initial list of safe countries has been drawn up by the Government’s Joint Biosecurity Centre, working with Public Health England, with nations assessed on the risk from COVID-19, the trajectory of the virus’s spread, and an assessment of the reliability of data.
Travellers will be able to go freely to both green and amber countries, while travel to countries marked red will either not be allowed or will require quarantine, and anyone coming to the UK will have to provide contact information.
The new policy comes only weeks after the quarantine measures were put into place throughout the UK, meaning anyone, resident or otherwise, travelling from anywhere in the world excluding the Republic of Ireland would have two quarantine for two weeks.
A Government spokesperson said: “Our public health measures at the border were put in place to manage the risk of imported cases and help prevent a second wave of the virus, and will continue to support our fight against coronavirus.
“Our new risk-assessment system will enable us to carefully open a number of safe travel routes around the world – giving people the opportunity for a summer holiday abroad and boosting the UK economy through tourism and business.
“But we will not hesitate to put on the brakes if any risks re-emerge, and this system will enable us to take swift action to reintroduce self-isolation measures if new outbreaks occur overseas.”
Source: Read Full Article