Foreign holidays have finally resumed after months of restrictions, with a new travel traffic light system in place in England, Wales and Scotland.
The system came into effect on Monday (17 May), alongside other relaxations to lockdown measures, and consists of green, amber and red listed countries.
Travellers are advised to only take a foreign holiday to green listed countries, which currently consists of 12 destinations, and will not have to quarantine when they arrive back in the UK.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stressed that countries on the amber list are “not somewhere where you should be going on holiday”, with these destinations requiring stricter quarantine measures on their return.
Various popular holiday destinations, including Spain, France, Greece and Italy, are all currently on the amber list, meaning travellers will have to wait until the list is reviewed before they can visit these destinations without needing to self-isolate when they get home.
If you are hoping for a Greek getaway later this summer, here’s what you need to know about the latest travel advice and the rules for amber listed countries.
What is the travel advice for Greece?
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises against all but essential travel to Greece, except for the islands of Rhodes, Kos, Zakynthos, Corfu and Crete, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.
UK nationals are permitted to enter Greece if they are a permanent resident in the UK, Greece, another EU/EFA state, or in one of the following countries:
United Arab Emirates
Anyone who travels to Greece must comply with guidelines imposed by the Greek authorities, including taking a Covid test before travel and filling out a Passenger Locator Form before travel both in and out of the country.
What Covid restrictions are in place in Greece?
Travellers visiting Greece must abide by the Covid restrictions in place in the country and should keep up to date with local announcements.
Current restrictions include:
- Wearing a facemask in all indoor and outdoor public and communal spaces, including work-places and on public transport
- A curfew is in place from 12:30am to 5am
- Restricted numbers are in place for churches and religious services
- A maximum of three people are permitted to travel in a taxi or a private vehicle, unless all members of the same family
- Cross-regional travel is allowed for mainland Greece and the islands of Lefkada, Evia and Salamina. Use of self-tests ahead of travel is strongly recommended but is not mandatory
Cross-regional travel to the rest of the islands is permitted but only with either:
- proof of vaccination and 14 days since second dose
- a negative result from a PCR test carried out up to 72 hours prior to travel
- a negative result from a rapid test or self-test conducted up to 24 hours before travel
- documentary proof of having recovered from Covid-19 (at least two months since infection, and no more than nine months)
What are the rules for countries on the amber list?
Government advice recommends against travel to both amber and red listed countries for holidays or leisure purposes, with holidaymakers instead urged to only visit destinations on the green list.
If you do choose to travel to an amber destination for your holiday, you will be going against government advice and additional Covid checks will be required.
Anyone who has visited or transited through an amber country will have to:
- fill out a passenger locator form
- provide a valid notification of a negative Covid test prior to travel
- quarantine at home for 10 days on their return
- take a PCR test on day two and day eight of their return
Travellers in England will be given the option of a “test to release” on day five to end their self-isolation period early.
If the result from your test is inconclusive you must continue to quarantine, or you can choose to take another privately provided test to find out if you can stop self-isolation early.
Anyone who fails to quarantine for the required period faces a fine of up to £1,000 for the first time in England, and up to £10,000 for further breaches.
The test to release scheme is not available to those travelling to Scotland.
When is the next travel update?
The government’s traffic travel light list is expected to be updated on 7 June.
A series of checkpoint reviews will be held in June, July and October, which will take into account the latest domestic and international data.
The decision on which countries are added to each list is based on a range of criteria, taking into account public health advice and the Joint Biosecurity Centre’s assessment of the latest Covid data.
The criteria for the lists includes:
- The percentage of a country’s population that have been vaccinated
- The rate of infection
- The prevalence of variants of concern
- The country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing
Greek tourism boss, Epameinondas Iliadis, managing director of travel company Aegean Outdoors, told Sky News he expects the country's islands to be added to the UK's travel green list next month.
The country has administered more than 4.2 million vaccine doses, with over 1.5 million people now fully vaccinated, which amounts to 14.19 per cent of the population.
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