Greece’s tourism minister criticised the Scottish First Minister’s move insisting that the country’s infection rate is “well below” the limit outlined by the UK government. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to attend a crunch meeting to decide whether he will also introduce a quarantine on arrivals from Greece.
Greece’s current infection rate is well below the threshold stipulated by the UK government of 20 infections per 100,000 population in a seven-day period.
Over the past seven days, Greece’s rate per 100,000 of population is 14.3.
Furious holidaymakers have questioned why the mark keeps getting moved as they rely on the Government guideline to decide what countries to travel to.
Greece’s tourism minister Harry Theoharis said the country has “a much lower number of infections compared to most other countries in Europe”.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Mr Theoharis said: “We have put in place a comprehensive set of protocols and measures.
“We take targeted measures where we see concentration. We feel that this is a bit harsh.”
The two weeks of self-isolation for travellers arriving from Greece will come into force today at 4am.
The move comes after on Monday around 190 passengers on a Tui Airways flight from Zante to Cardiff were asked to self-isolate for 14 days.
“The health and safety of our colleagues and customers is our primary concern and recent cases shows that some customers are not following social distancing and COVID safety measures.
“It is therefore the right thing to do to protect and reduce a now identified potential risk to others by no longer offering holidays to this specific resort.
“The recent cases in Wales have highlighted a demographic of customers that have recently returned from Zante and subsequently tested positive.
“As the only airline that flies between Cardiff and Zante it has allowed us to understand trends that may also be seen in other areas of the UK.”
Flights to all other resorts in Zante will continue as planned.
Vaughan Gething, the Welsh health minister, said he was pressing the UK Government to reassess the UK’s travel measures for Greece.
He said: “I have pressed for an early meeting with the UK Government and devolved nations to consider the latest assessment of risk by the Joint Biosecurity Centre.
“There is an obvious need for us to consider the potential for changes to the regulations in Wales which would require travellers arriving in the UK from Greece and possibly elsewhere to self-isolate on their return.”
Scotland’s chief medical officer Gregor Smith said: “There is a compelling public health risk around importation of the virus, especially given the number of imported cases linked to the Greek islands.
“The flow of travel between Scotland and Greece, and the behaviour we have seen from some of those travellers, means that on public health grounds there is a strong case – supported by public health directors – to remove Greece from the exemption list.”
Published at Thu, 03 Sep 2020 04:10:00 +0000