Greece bans all flights from UK until July 15

Beachgoers enjoy the sun and sea at public beach during the official reopening of beaches to the public on May 16, 2020 in Varkiza, Greece. Greece allowed the reopening of organised beaches after easing of measures against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)with strict social distancing measures that would affect private beaches all over Greece, where shade umbrellas must be planted at least 4 meters (13 feet) apart, and a maximum 40 Beachgoers will be allowed in every 1,000 square meters (11,000 square feet) of beach.
Greece is understood to have banned UK flights until July 15 (Picture: Getty)

 

The UK’s plans for holiday ‘air bridges’ have been thrown into chaos as Greece confirmed it would ban all flights from the UK for at least another two weeks.

It is understood flights coming from Britain and Sweden will not be permitted to enter the country until July 15, sources told Athens News Agency.

The news comes as Greece is set to reopen its borders to international visitors on Wednesday for the first time since it was put into lockdown in late March.

Greece had been named over the weekend as one of several countries that was expected to be included in the UK’s list of travel destinations that Britons will be able to travel to without having to self-isolate on return.

It is understood it was going to be placed in the ‘green’ or ‘amber’ category as part of the UK’s traffic light system, meaning it is deemed safe for British tourists to visit.

Tourists from Netherlands that have been in Greece all the curfew period visit the Acropolis archaeological site, in Athens, Greece, 18 May 2020. The archaeological sites in Greece open to visitors, following the easing of measures against the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Greece was set to open its borders to international tourists on Wednesday (Picture: EPA)

 

But the ban, which was agreed at a meeting of Greek government officials chaired by prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis today, is set to delay plans.

The prime minister reportedly said: ‘The whole opening procedure is dynamic and the data will be continuously evaluated.’

Greece’s tourism minister, Haris Theoharis, previously told ITV News that the UK’s systems in place to control coronavirus are not efficient enough for Britons to be allowed into the country.

He said: ‘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.’

TuI, the UK’s biggest tour operator, was due to serve four Greek islands when it resumes its operations for UK customers on July 11.

Empty sunbeds and few tourists are seen on the beach of Leptokarya, Katerini, Katerini, Greece, 29 June 2020. Locals are waiting for visitors on the shores of the Pieria region in northern Greece, the preferred area for tourists from the Balkans, while traffic remains subdued, which could recover in July and August.
The announcement has thrown UK tour operators’ plans into chaos (Picture: EPA)

 

The news comes after travel companies reported their biggest Saturday sales ever as bargain hunters rushed to book flights before prices shot up, ahead of the announcement of the holiday traffic light system.

TUI reported a rise of 50 per cent in bookings compared to last week.

The government is set to announce which countries will couple up with the UK to create holiday ‘air bridges’ on Wednesday.

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