Greece’s tourism minister has said the UK government should review its decision to quarantine people travelling from seven of the country’s most popular islands, labelling the move “unfortunate and unfair”.
Harry Theoharis said infection levels in Greece remained below the UK’s threshold for taking countries off its exemption list.
“From the point of view of headline numbers, it’s a decision that is unfortunate and unfair,” he told the Guardian. “There have been 13 cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days in Greece, which is below other countries and below the UK’s own self-imposed yardstick. We are very much hoping it will be reviewed as soon as possible.”
But taking a new regional approach to quarantine policy, Britain’s transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said on Monday that increased coronavirus caseloads on Greek islands posed a risk to public health in the UK.
The seven islands singled out were Zakynthos (Zante), Santorini, Mykonos, Crete, Lesbos, Serifos and Tinos. The Greek mainland was not removed from the exemption list.
More British holidaymakers flew to Greece in August than any other nationality, with 315,840 arrivals at the country’s 14 regional airports, according to Fraport Greece.
About 60,000 Britons were said to be holidaying on the islands when Shapps announced the decision in the Commons, triggering a panicked rush for increasingly costly air tickets back to the UK before the measure came into force at 4am on Wednesday.