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Portugal and parts of Greece added to Wales quarantine list

Written by on 3rd September 2020

Travellers from mainland Portugal and parts of Greece will have to isolate when arriving in Wales but not England.

The two nations made different decisions at the weekly point when their quarantine lists are normally updated.
There was speculation ministers may have been concerned about Portugal because COVID-19 cases there rose to 23 per 100,000 people in the seven days up to Wednesday – up from 15.3 a week earlier.

Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for Health and Social Services said “Members will be aware that the UK Government made provision to ensure that travellers entering the United Kingdom from overseas must self-isolate for 14 days, to prevent the further spread of coronavirus.  These restrictions came into force on Monday 8 June 2020.
On 10 July, the Welsh Government amended the Regulations to introduce exemptions from the isolation requirement for a list of countries and territories and a limited range of people in specialised sectors or employment who may be exempted from the isolation requirement or excepted from certain provisions of the passenger information requirements.

“Since then these regulations have been kept under review and a number of changes to the list of exempt countries and territories have been made.
I have also considered the clear advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) report that travel from the following countries and territories constitutes a public health risk. I have decided to remove mainland Portugal (the Azores and Madeira will remain exempt), Gibraltar, French Polynesia and the Greek islands of Mykonos, Zakynthos, Lesvos, Paros and Antiparos and Crete from the list of exempt countries and territories.
I will lay the necessary regulations which will come into force at 04:00 on Friday 4 September.

“This action is being taken as a result of a large number of cases of coronavirus have been imported into Wales from tourists returning from the Greek islands, in particular. In the last week, there have been more than 20 cases confirmed in passengers on one flight from Zante to Cardiff.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Senedd returns I would be happy to do so.

The UK government generally says countries, where the figure is higher than 20 per 100,000, are at risk of being added to the list.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who has responsibility for England only, tweeted the quarantine list is kept “under constant review” and he would not “hesitate to remove countries if needed”.
But he added “there are no English additions or removals today”, though reminded holidaymakers that destinations exempt from quarantine “can and do change at very short notice”.

Other territories added to the quarantine list include Gibraltar, French Polynesia, and the Greek islands of Mykonos, Zakynthos, Lesvos, Paros, Antiparos, and Crete.
Holidaymakers in Portugal were scrambling to get home this week.
British Airways flight prices jumped to more than £500 for Thursday, and EasyJet sold out all its flights from Faro to airports in Britain for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
Portugal was originally left off the list of so-called “travel corridors” where people could arrive from without needing to quarantine when the policy was brought in in June.
It was only added to the safe list a few weeks ago – on 22 August.