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Don’t put Greece on amber-plus list, it’s safe, begs tourism minister

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 7/22/2021 Laura Sharman
a group of people on a beach: plakabeach020621 © AP plakabeach020621

The tourism minister of Greece has urged the UK not to put the country on the amber plus travel list as quarantine fears mount among holidaymakers.

Harry Theoharis insisted “Greece is a safe country” for tourists and should remain on the amber list.

But a sharp rise in Covid cases has perturbed UK travellers who fear quarantine rules will return, even for those who are fully vaccinated.

Infections have increased almost sevenfold over the past three weeks, with almost 2,700 reported last week.

But its 14 day case rate per 100,000 inhabitants is still far below that of the UK, at 167 compared to 440.

“We should remain on the amber list. We certainly hope that the data supports our view,” Mr Theoharis told Sky News.

“Greece is a safe country. Our vaccination drive and programme continues unabated... Close to 60 per cent of the adult population has been vaccinated.”

The minister also said Greece is not experiencing high rates of Covid coming in from the UK and other tourists.

“We don’t see that there is a high incidence at our borders,” he said.

“Our rates are only 0.01 up to 0.09 per cent in the previous days so we don’t see a high incidence in people coming at our airports or at our land borders. But the increase in mobility in the summer and also the Delta Variant is spread very quickly. It has increased the number of cases throughout Europe.

“This is not just about the southern countries or the tourist countries, this is about every country.”

a group of people standing next to an umbrella: Ancient Acropolis archeological site in Athens, Greece (X07402/AFP via Getty Images) © Provided by Evening Standard Ancient Acropolis archeological site in Athens, Greece (X07402/AFP via Getty Images)

What is the amber plus list?

From July 19, UK residents returning from amber list destinations can avoid self isolating if they are double-jabbed.

The move was created for France last week after new rules on July 19 brought an end to amber list quarantine for the fully vaccinated.

On Friday, the government banned quarantine-free travel from France over concerns of the rising Delta variant first discovered in South Africa.

It is feared Greece and Spain could join the new amber plus list which still requires double-jabbed travellers to self-isolate when they return.

Both countries have recently moved to tighten Covid restrictions after a spike in coronavirus cases.

Night curfews have been reintroduced in more than 30 towns in Valencia and popular coastal destination of Benicassim.

Meanwhile, Greek authorities blamed their own soaring infection numbers on people not coming forward to be vaccinated.

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