Government plans for quarantine-free travel in Europe have been thrown into “chaos” after Greece said that it would ban flights from the UK for another two weeks.
British holidaymakers will not be allowed to fly to Greece until 15 July, despite the country opening its borders to other international visitors as of Wednesday this week.
A “travel corridor agreement” between the UK government and Greece had been expected to allow holidays as early as next week and government sources had “briefed that it was likely to be among the first wave of countries opened up from July 6”, The Times says.
But Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has said that flights from Britain – along with Sweden – will not be allowed, but will remain under “continuous review”, Sky News reports.
The suggestion that the ban will be reconsidered means “British families with Greek getaways booked for the school summer holidays should still be able to travel”, the broadcaster adds.
Haris Theoharis, the Greek tourism minister, had previously told ITV News that the UK’s coronavirus record was “not good enough for Britons to be allowed into the country”.
“I think that the UK has a big difference in terms of the current medical status of the country with Greece, so I don’t think it’s likely it will be there,” Theoharis said.
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The ban on Brits heading to Greece is the second setback for the air bridge scheme this week, after the Portugese government criticised plans to exclude the popular holiday destination from the UK’s proposed scheme.
Home Affairs Minister Eduardo Cabrita said that Portugal was “manifestly not where the risk is”, adding that “Portugal has better public health indicators and better pandemic response indicators than the United Kingdom”.