Holidays on five Greek islands are back after Transport Minister Grant Shapps revealed the latest changes to the government’s travel quarantine “red list”.
Mr Shapps said trips from Lesbos, Tinos, Serifos, Santorini and Zakynthos no longer require self-isolation on arrival in England from this weekend.
He also announced that no countries will be placed on the “Red List” this week.
The news was met with open arms to some Britons eager to enjoy the final weeks of the Greek islands holiday season, as one Twitter user wrote: “Get me on a plane to Zakynthos as soon as possible.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced today that five Greek islands will be added to the government’s travel corridor list
Last week, Mr Shapps added Turkey and Poland and the Caribbean islands of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba to the quarantine list.
Mr Shapps tweeted tonight: ‘TRAVEL CORRIDOR UPDATE: We’re adding Lesbos, Tinos, Serifos, Santorini and Zakynthos to the #TravelCorridor list this week.
If you are arriving from these Greek islands on Saturday, October 10th, 4am, you no longer need to isolate yourself. We do not remove countries. ‘
The British seized the chance for an end-of-season vacation after Grant Shapps announced that Santorini and Zakynthos would be placed on the UK’s safe travel list
British visitors to Italy MUST take a Covid test
Italy introduced the obligation Coronavirus Tests for British visitors.
Health Minister Roberto Speranza announced that arrivals from European countries at higher risk for Covid-19, such as the UK, France and Spain, will need to demonstrate a negative test carried out in the 72 hours prior to travel.
Visitors who cannot prove a negative result at the border must take a test in Italy.
Some airports offer free trials while others can cost around £ 11. Travelers are only allowed to leave once they have received their result.
Anyone who tests positive will be quarantined until two consecutive negative results are recorded.
Italy tested a coronavirus swab test in July that can produce results in just 15 minutes.
The health chiefs in Rome hope that the rapid diagnostic test from the South Korean company SD Biosensor will be used at airports to screen tourists for the infection.
It has already been used on 1,000 people in the northern Veneto region, which resulted in two incorrect results compared to the standard swab test.
He added, “REMINDER: You MUST by law fill out a passenger search form when entering the UK from any location (travel corridor or otherwise) to protect public health and ensure everyone’s safety.”
The British welcomed today’s announcement on Twitter as some expressed their relief that their vacation destinations remained safe while others were delighted with the addition of the Greek islands.
Matty Adams wrote, “Now you can go to Santorini without isolating yourself who is tempted lol.”
Within 90 minutes of Mr Shapps’ announcement, a woman said, “I booked Santorini”.
A fan of the traffic secretary wrote, “Get me on that plane tomorrow, Grant, boy.”
Another simply asked: “Zante someone?”
Mr Shapps’ announcement came the day after the government set up a task force to develop a Covid-19 test system for travelers in the UK.
The government said the group would “identify options to reduce self-isolation times while protecting public health”.
Anyone coming to the UK from overseas must self-isolate for 14 days unless they have traveled from an exempt destination.
The UK travel sector has repeatedly called for tests to be put in place at airports in order to reduce quarantine times for those who get a negative result.
Mr Shapps said: “The current measures on the border have saved lives.
‘Our understanding of science now means we can step up efforts to develop options for a test regime and help revitalize our world-leading travel sector.
“This new task force will not only help us enable safer and smoother international travel as we continue to fight this virus, it will also support global connectivity. It will help enable Covid-safe travel while protecting the population to protect imported cases. “
Travel bloggers hailed today’s announcement from Grant Shapps, who saw no additions to the UK quarantine list
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “It is important that we do everything we can to control the spread of the virus. Our actions at the borders are designed to help protect the country by preventing imported cases of Covid-19.
“We know how these measures are having a significant impact on people’s lives and the travel and tourism industries. That’s why we’re working hard across the government to find ways to safely open up international travel.”
The Global Travel Taskforce will examine whether travelers can be released from quarantine early after paying a private sector company for a single Covid-19 test after a period of self-isolation.
The group is jointly led by Mr. Shapps and Mr. Hancock and will examine how a test operation could be introduced.
It will consult with the aviation, travel, healthcare and coronavirus testing sectors and is expected to make initial recommendations next month.
Heathrow Airport executives, Manchester Airports Group, easyJet and Virgin Atlantic said in a joint statement that the creation of the task force is a “step in the right direction”.
Hopes for an airport test breakthrough this week are likely to be dashed after ministers decide to open another review of the problem. The coronavirus testing facility at Heathrow is pictured above
“We support the decision to opt for a single test run by the private sector, funded by passengers and not affecting the NHS in any way,” they said.
‘However, travelers need a firm commitment that a comprehensive testing regime will be launched in early November.
“A test on the fifth day, which according to conservative evidence from the government would be” highly effective “and which they are already carrying out in Germany, should be the starting point.
“Without a quick test step, the UK will lag even further behind our competitors and the economic recovery will not take off.”