England’s first regional quarantines have come into effect, with arrivals from seven Greek island now required to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return.
The move was announced by transport secretary Grant Shapps in parliament on Monday (7 September), and took effect from 4am on Wednesday (9 September).
The restrictions will initially apply to Crete, Lesvos, Mykonos, Santorini, Serifos, Tinos and Zakynthos.
The Foreign Office is now advising against all but essential travel to these islands, but is not advising those already travelling in these destinations to leave.
It comes after Scotland and Wales broke away from the UK’s travel corridor policy last week, insisting on more immediate quarantine measures for arrivals from Greece and its islands.
Regional quarantine has long been sought by the travel sector, at least until the government pursues a formalised airport testing regime, as seen in other European countries.
The policy also raises hope that it may soon work in the other direction, with quarantine-free travel resuming to some island destinations such as the Canaries, which has a very different Covid landscape to mainland Spain.
Abta said the move towards quarantine on an island-by-island basis was welcome, adding it hoped the move would "lead to a more targeted approach" similar to systems in Germany and the Netherlands.
The association also said the move reflected the UK’s own localised lockdown strategy, and added a testing regime should be the next step.
The World Travel and Tourism Council, meanwhile, said it was encouraged the government was "beginning to listen", adding the new policy "showed a more strategic approached and signalled a change from the previous blanket country-wide approach".