Starting at 4am on Thursday, September 3, travelers into Scotland from Greece will be required to quarantine for 14 days on arrival.
The Scottish government decided on Wednesday, to remove Greece from its “travel corridor” exemptions list due to a “significant rise” in Covid-19 cases.
Scottish authorities said infections were being brought into Scotland from people who had visited the Greek islands. One such case includes a passenger who flew to Glasgow from Zakynthos on August 23.
“There is a compelling public health risk around importation of the virus, especially given the number of imported cases linked to the Greek islands,” said Scotland’s chief medical officer Gregor Smith.
“The flow of travel between Scotland and Greece, and the behaviour we have seen from some of those travelers, means that on public health grounds there is a strong case – supported by public health directors – to remove Greece from the exemption list,” he added.
Zakynthos, a highly popular destination for many young UK and Scottish nationals, was put under restriction last week after several cases of infections transported to Wales and the UK were traced back to the Ionian island.
“We judge, based on the evidence available to us, there is a necessity to apply that quarantine restriction and that’s to essentially protect us here in Scotland from a spread of the virus as a consequence of importation from other countries,” Deputy First Minister John Swinney told Good Morning Scotland, adding that there had been “an increased number of cases coming in from Greece as a consequence of international travel”.
Swinney noted that an overall quarantine requirement from Greece was being implemented in efforts to “give us as much protection as possible here domestically to avoid a rise in cases and that’s what we’re trying to avoid at all possible costs”.
Following the Zakynthos incidents, the Welsh government also said holidaymakers returning to Wales from the Greek island would be advised to quarantine for 14 days and be tested for Covid-19.
Scotland’s quarantine-free list is kept under regular review.
Meanwhile, travelers re-entering the UK from Greece are not required to self-isolate. Reuters reports however that the UK government was expected to decide later this week on whether to impose quarantine measures on inbound travelers out of Greece.
Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis described the restrictions as “harsh”, adding that Greece had taken “every possible precaution”.
He went on to stress that Greece was “well below” the 20 cases per 100,000 threshold used as a guide for imposing quarantine restrictions on returning travelers.
Besides Greece, other countries on Scotland’s quarantine list include Spain, Croatia, Switzerland, Czech Republic, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Malta, Austria, Monaco, and Luxembourg, among others.