The Daily Telegraph
Croatia and Greece could be next on the travel ‘red list’
Tourists face quarantine upon their return from two more popular European holiday destinations
CROATIA passed the Government’s quarantine threshold yesterday, raising fears it would soon be added to the UK’S “red list” of nations.
Coronavirus cases in the popular holiday destination rose above the yardstick of 20 per 100,000 people. Paul Charles, CEO of the PC Agency travel consultancy, said the Balkan nation was the only country “really at risk” of being struck from quarantine free travel this week after its incidence level rose to 21.5.
The country registered 151 new cases in the past 24 hours – possibly as a result of relaxed restrictions on nightlife, with two thirds of new infections stemming from bars and nightclubs.
Travel industry experts estimate 20,000 British holidaymakers in the country may face a last-minute dash home if the Government changes its status.
Meanwhile, there were fears Greece could also see quarantine measures introduced, after the number of cases surged to 6,858, with 251 new infections reported in the past 24 hours, compared with a daily peak of 156 at the height of the European epidemic in April.
Holidaymakers were warned not to book “DIY” trips to Greece, as governmental rules there mean refunds may take 18 months.
British tourists turned to booking Greek holidays after Spain and France were added to the Government’s quarantine list. Travelsupermarket, an online website, said three of the top five destinations for package holidays last week were in Greece.
The Greek government changed the rules in April so that hotels, travel agencies and ferry companies could offer vouchers instead of cash, with refunds only being paid if they were unused after 18 months. Those who booked package holidays cancelled by the operator would be unaffected.
Rory Boland, Which? travel editor, said on Twitter: “There’s lots of advice for holidaymakers to now book Italy or Greece instead of France, but my view is it’s too risky unless you’re able to quarantine on return. The situation can worsen in just a few days, and the Government doesn’t give enough notice on changes to the corridor list.”
He said holidaymakers needed more flexibility as last-minute changes had become commonplace.
“It is too risky to book DIY holidays. Those planning a trip should instead book a package holiday with a trusted firm,” he added.
However, Mr Charles, who correctly predicted the outcome in France, Malta and the Netherlands last week, said he believed Greece would not be struck from the Government’s “safe list” any time soon.
He said: “As of Sunday it had 13.4 cases per 100,000, so it’s a long way off.”
Last week Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, said any country recording more than 20 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in a week could “trigger” quarantine measures.
Mr Paul said by this admission the Government had essentially created a coronavirus “league table” – which “doesn’t help to reassure consumers”.
There were also concerns that Turkey could see its quarantine status removed last night, after it recorded its highest daily number of cases since June, with 1,256 positive tests and 21 deaths in the past 24 hours.
Amid rising speculation, there were renewed calls for the Government to consider alternative measures to blanket quarantine.
One Tory MP said the Government’s handling of “air corridors” had reignited concerns on the back benches that “in a lot of instances we seem to be getting a lot of this quite wrong”.
He said: “I don’t understand why we can’t just implement a system similar to many other countries, which test or take temperatures.
“There is a lot of rhetoric about ‘world beating this and that’ but I think a lot of people would be content if they just did things competently.”