Greece and Portugal NOT added to quarantine list after Government review

Greece and Portugal have not been added to England’s quarantine list, transport secretary Grant Shapps today confirmed, because figures suggested cases were decreasing in those nations.

Friday, 4th September 2020, 8:52 am
Updated Friday, 4th September 2020, 8:53 am

This comes following reports that both countries could be placed back on the list as infection rates rose above 20 new weekly cases per 100,000 of the population – a benchmark used in England to determine quarantine status.

The Government held a review into the status of both countries, which prompted many UK travellers to pay for expensive flights back from holidays in order to avoid a potential quarantine.

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However, following the review, Mr Schapps told Sky News: “It’s led to no changes partly because the test positivity for example in Portugal actually came down on the last set of figures when we were making this choice and also on Greece the overall numbers came down.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the number of cases per 100,000 was a “useful benchmark” for the status of a country when deciding whether to impose a quarantine, but said it was “one of the many bits of data” looked at, alongside test positivity ratio.

He told BBC Breakfast: “If you test more people, of course your number of positives per 100,000 would be more just as a product of having tested more people.

“We don’t want to penalise a country for doing the right thing, what we’re additionally interested in is how many of those tests were actually positive, so it’s getting that and in addition how it’s been treated, how fast it’s moving and whether the government in that country has a plan in place and many other factors that have to do with it.”

Mr Shapps said Portugal was currently on the “borderline” but did not justify quarantine this week, though it is being closely monitored.

He said: “Remember these things can change potentially in-week as well, if we see something take off. I’m afraid I know it’s very frustrating… I have every sympathy with people who have found themselves stranded.

“Travelling always has a certain amount of uncertainty and of course with coronavirus it’s more uncertain than it has been at any other time.”