Coronavirus: Quarantine change to pinpoint islands rather than whole-country approach

September 07, 2020

Future quarantines will pinpoint travellers returning to England from specific islands instead of a whole-country approach.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced the change as he revealed seven Greek islands will be added to the list of places where anyone coming back from must isolate for two-weeks, effective from 4am on Wednesday.

The islands affected are: Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Crete, Santorini and Zakynthos.

But mainland Greece will remain on England's safe list of so-called "travel corridors".

Mr Shapps said coronavirus is a "dreadful disease" that can "take us all - holidaymakers included - by surprise".

He explained the move to treat islands differently was not yet able to happen for regions within a country's mainland territory.

It follows anger and confusion from some holidaymakers hit by last-minute changes.

Several have complained that countries added to the quarantine list have seen coronavirus cases growing in a particular region on the mainland - but the islands are still largely safe.

That was the case when Spain was added to the list in July due to a spike of infections in three northeastern regions.

The move also hit sun-seekers on the Balearic and Canary Islands - leaving some questioning why, given the popular destinations had much lower rates of COVID-19.

England's approach follows that of Wales - which last week added some Greek islands to its quarantine list and exempted several Portuguese islands.

Meanwhile Scotland has added the whole of Greece to its quarantine list.

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