Greece and Portugal left off England quarantine list despite rise in cases

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Greece and Portugal will not be added to England’s travel quarantine list, despite a rise of infections in both
countries. It means Brits returning from both destinations will not have to self-isolate for 14 days when they arrive home.

But to make matters more confusing, the Welsh devolved government has added mainland Portugal and six Greek islands to its quarantine list from 4am tomorrow. Meanwhile passengers arriving at Scotland from Portugal or French Polynesia will have to self isolate for two weeks as of 4am Saturday.

Downing Street had been expected to scrap the UK’s ‘travel corridor’ with Portugal today, as the number of cases in the country has been above 20 per 100,000 people for three days – past the threshold for imposing quarantine restrictions. The Government also faced pressure to take Greece off the safe list, as tourists faced ‘travel chaos’ due to different stances taken by authorities in England, Scotland and Wales.

While the Mediterranean country has fared comparatively well, with just under 10,998 cases and 278 deaths, its rate of infection is now at its highest since the start of the outbreak, with more than 1,500 cases last week.

The Greek islands of Mykonos, Zakynthos (Zante), Lesvos, Paros, Antiparos and Crete have been put on the Welsh government’s quarantine list.

Gibraltar and French Polynesia will also be affected by the changes, which mark the first time Wales has formally applied its own quarantine rules. The nation had previously followed the exemption list set by Downing Street,

although this began to slip earlier this week after it started asking arrivals from the Greek island of Zante to isolate. Health Minister Vaughan Gething said he had made the move today due to a high volume of cases ‘imported into Wales from tourists returning from the Greek islands’. While mainland Portugal is on the Welsh quarantine list, the islands of Azores and Madeira will be exempt.

Meanwhile Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf tweeted: ‘If arriving into Scotland from Portugal or French Polynesia from 4am Sat (5th Sept) you’ll have to self-isolate for 14 days. ‘Gibraltar high up our watch list of countries we are monitoring closely. This week’s data shows increase in test positivity & cases per 100k in Portugal.’ Announcing that there will be no changes for travellers returning to England today, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted: ‘We continue to keep the Travel Corridor list under constant review & won’t hesitate to remove countries if needed.

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