England to launch regional travel quarantine policy

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LONDON: England is to start applying a regional approach to its quarantine policy for international arrivals, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.

From 4am on Wednesday, arrivals from seven Greek islands will need to self-isolate for 14 days, but mainland Greece will maintain its coronavirus quarantine-exemption. The decision brings England partly into line with Wales, which removed six Greek islands from its quarantine-free list last week.

Mr Shapps said: “Our top priority has always been to keep domestic infection rates down, and today we’re taking the next step in our approach.

“Through the use of enhanced data we will now be able to pinpoint risk in some of the most popular islands, providing increased flexibility to add or remove them – distinct from the mainland – as infection rates change. “This development will help boost the UK’s travel industry while continuing to maintain maximum protection to public health, keeping the travelling public safe.”

Meanwhile, the Department for Transport (DfT) said the Greek islands of Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Crete, Santorini and Zakynthos (also known as Zante) are losing their quarantine-exemptions, because data from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England “has indicated a significant risk to UK public health from those islands”.

The UK Government’s regional policy will only apply to land that has a “clear boundary” – such as an island – and “internationally comparable data” on coronavirus cases, the DfT added.