After it was announced that France has been assigned a travel traffic light colour of its own, Amber Plus, questions around whether any other countries could find themselves on that list as well.
Can I travel to Greece?
Greece is included in England’s Amber list at the moment, and while some countries that are on the Amber list are not permitting entry from the UK, Greece is.
The Government says: “UK nationals are permitted to enter Greece if they are a permanent resident in the UK, Greece, another EU/EFTA state, or in one of the following countries; Albania, Australia, Bahrain, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, China, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Montenegro, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Russian Federation, United Arab Emirates, United States and Ukraine.
“If you’re a British national who resides in another country, not listed above, you may be refused entry to Greece due to measures put in place by the Greek authorities to combat the spread of COVID-19.”
Those travelling to Greece must comply with all Greek Covid regulations, including completing a Passenger Locator Form prior to travel, and wearing a face mask at all times when on a plane, bus, train or ferry, and while inside an airport.
Arrivals from the UK must provide either proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test, which has been taken within the 72 hour period before arriving in Greece; proof of a negative Covid-19 rapid antigen test from an authorised laboratory, undertaken within the 48 hour period before the scheduled departure; or proof of two Covid-19 vaccinations completed at least 14 days before travel.
Travellers with proof of any of the above will be exempted from the need to self isolate upon arrival in Greece.
What are the rules for returning to England from Greece?
Greece is on the Amber list, and the rules upon returning to England from an Amber list country will vary slightly depending on whether you’re fully vaccinated or not.
Fully vaccinated passengers, prior to travelling to England, must:
- Take a Covid-19 test - children aged 10 and under do not need to take this test
- Book and pay for a day two Covid-19 test, to be taken after arrival in England
- Complete a passenger locator form
Those that aren’t yet fully vaccinated need to follow the same steps, but they will have to book and pay for day two and day eight Covid-19 tests to be taken after arrival in England.
Fully vaccinated passengers will need to declare that they have been fully UK vaccinated on their passenger locator form, or state if they are taking part/have taken part in a formally approved UK Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial for Covid-19 vaccine, or you are under 18 and a resident in the UK.
They will also need to show proof of vaccination status to their carrier (ferry, airline or train) when travelling.
Upon arrival in England, fully vaccinated people must take their Covid-19 PCR test on or before day two after they arrive. Children aged four and under do not need to take this test.
You do not need to quarantine unless the day two test result is positive.
You must quarantine at home or in the place you are staying if NHS Test and Trace informs you that you travelled to England or otherwise come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.
For those who are not yet fully vaccinated, on arrival in England you must quarantine at home, or in the place you are staying, for 10 days.
You must also take a Covid-19 test on or before day two and on or after day eight.
Children aged 4 and under do not need to take the day 2 or day 8 test but must still quarantine at their home or in the place that they are staying.
What is Amber Plus?
Amber Plus is essentially a new category within the traffic light travel system that has been created, alongside Red, Amber, Green and Green watchlist.
The new Amber Plus label came after it was announced that all travellers returning from France to England from 19 July will need to continue to follow previous quarantine rules despite the new changes made to those returning from Amber countries.
The Government announced: “From Monday 19 July, UK residents arriving from amber countries who are fully vaccinated will no longer have to quarantine, although they will still need to comply with necessary testing requirements.”
However, at the last minute before the rules came into play, it was revealed that the change would not apply to France, the only country on the Amber Plus list for far, “following the persistent presence of cases in France of the Beta variant, which was first identified in South Africa”.
Anyone returning to England who has been in an Amber Plus country in the last 10 days will be required to quarantine on arrival in their own accommodation, and will need to arrange day two and day eight Covid-19 tests, regardless of their vaccination status.
The Amber Plus category lies between the Amber list and Red list - it requires the quarantine time of the Red list without the need for travellers to go through the process at a hotel.
Will Greece go on Amber Plus list?
Data expert Tim White Tweeted about countries that could potentially end up on the Amber Plus list, after it was revealed that France was on it.
He wrote: “So #France was nonsensically put on Amber+ for <4% of Beta cases from a very small sample. It really does seem the govt advisors could not read the data, but unlikely to admit a mistake.
“So if that level is the new benchmark, then there is a problem for #Spain and #Greece. But Spain does so little genomic sequencing it’s going to be as outrageous as the France decision if it is made Amber+ too.”
He wrote that “either all of Spain and islands go Amber+, or none”, and that “Belgium, Netherlands and Germany must be at risk too, low incidence of variants in previous data”.