“Tinos and Serifos do not have airports…” – Greek Deputy Minister Nikos Hardalias
The decision of the UK government to include Tinos and Serifos among the Greek islands on its quarantine list for arrivals to England, as part of preventive measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19), has puzzled Greek authorities.
Speaking during the Covid-19 media briefing on Tuesday, Greek Civil Protection Deputy Minister Nikos Hardalias said that Greece’s epidemiological data, regarding local or imported coronavirus cases on the two islands in question, does not confirm the decision of the UK to impose quarantine on travelers arriving to England from those destinations.
“There are issues (concerning the decision) because those who travel to these islands will be quarantined. But Tinos and Serifos do not have airports,” he said.
According to Hardalias, there is no indication or epidemiological data specifically for Tinos and Serifos that justifies the UK’s decision.
“If there was anything, we would have already made concrete decisions,” the deputy minister said.
However, Hardalias said that the fact that the UK, as well as the Netherlands, chose to quarantine arrivals from specific destinations and not from Greece at a country level, is proof that there is trust in the government’s data regarding Covid-19 cases.
Serifos Municipality wants an explanation
On its part, the Municipality of Serifos has requested an explanation from the UK regarding the decision to quarantine travelers that visit the island.
“Serifos island does not have any direct flights to/from the UK since there is no airport on the island and therefore the possibility of infection is quite remote,” the island’s Deputy Mayor for Finance & Tourism Stylianos Livanios said in a letter to UK Transport Secretary Grant Shaaps.
Moreover, Livanios pointed out that Serifos traditionally relies on domestic tourism and the percentage of UK tourists on the island is less than 5%-7%.
According to the deputy mayor, the municipality managed to successfully shield the island during the pandemic by taking all the necessary precautions to guarantee the health and safety of its guests. Serifos was the first island in Greece that introduced the disinfection stations which are located at the port and the entrances of each village.
“Therefore, we would appreciate if you could explain the rationale behind your decision to remove Serifos island from the travel corridor list and it would be helpful if you could provide the data indicating that there is a high risk of infection in our island,” Livanios concluded.