Holiday in Kefalonia 2021 – UK COVID procedures and regulations

Greece is currently categorised by the UK as Amber risk for COVID.

The UK Global Travel Taskforce gave the go-ahead for non-essential international travel to resume from 17th May, but the conditions attached made travel more complex. From the 19th July, new rules apply which aim to make leisure travel easier if you are vaccinated*.
*These new rules apply only to people aged 18 and over, who have completed a course of an approved vaccine via the NHS more than 14 days prior to travel. An EU Digital COVID Certificate is not yet valid for these new regulations.

As public health in the UK is a devolved issue much of this information applies only to residents of England.
Updates from Wales, Scotland and N. Ireland will be released when we get them.

What do I need to know?

In order to keep the risk of transmitting new COVID-19 variants as low as possible, international travel will inevitably have some additional processes and procedures in place this year. Make sure you know what applies to everyone in your travel party before you travel, whilst you are away and when you get home.

Pre travel guidance
Rules that apply to everyone

When travelling to Greece, you must complete a Greek Passenger Locator Form (PLF) for you and your travelling party. You can access the form at https://travel.gov.gr/
You must submit this before 10pm BST the day before you travel.
We have written a helpful guide to help you fill in the PLF.
Either before you travel or while you are away, you will need to book and pay for private COVID testing to take place once you return home. How many tests you need depend upon your vaccination status

Rules for un-vaccinated

You will need to prove your COVID status with either a negative PCR test certificate from a test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival, or a negative antigen (rapid) test certificate from a test taken no more than 48 hours before arrival. This applies to everyone over the age of 12.

or

Proof of a negative PCR test is not required if you have tested positive with COVID-19 in the past 30 to 180 days. This can be proved either by presenting a positive PCR molecular or an antigen test result performed by an authorised laboratory or a medical certificate confirming that the holder was tested positive with SARS-CoV-2 virus infection. The certificate is issued 30 days after the day of the first positive COVID-19 test and is valid for 180 days after it.

Rules for vaccinated

You will need to prove your vaccination status before you travel – you can do this with the NHS COVID Pass letter.
You can get your letter digitally through the NHS app (not the COVID app), request it online or by calling 119. You should allow up to 5 days for receipt of your letter. More info at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/demonstrating-your-covid-19-status.

Returning to the UK – testing and self isolation requirements
Rules that apply to everyone

Regardless of vaccination status, everyone travelling to the UK must have a COVD test and return a negative result. This test should be conducted no more than 3 days before you travel. You have 3 options for pre-travel testing.
1. You can bring with you an antigen (rapid) test that you have paid for (not a free NHS one) and conduct the test yourself in resort.
2. You can have an antigen test at a private lab on the island. Private labs are located in Argostoli, Lixouri and Ithaca.
3. Local private doctors surgeries in some resorts will conduct tests in co-operation with an Argostoli based lab, but you can expect to pay a premium for this service.
At time of publication, the UK requires a negative PCR or Antigen test to be permitted entry. An Antigen test is cheaper and provides quicker results. Make sure that the lab you use provides you with a test that is suitable for travel to the UK. UK gov has criteria for testing: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-for-people-travelling-to-england
If you do not have a valid test result, you may be fined up to £500 when you return to the UK or even denied boarding. You should not attempt to travel back to the UK if you test positive.

Rules for un-vaccinated

Before you try to return home, you will need to have booked and paid for at home PCR testing. You must complete a test on days 2 and 8 after returning home. You must also self-isolate for 10 days.
The quarantine period may be reduced if you provide a negative test after 5 days, but this too will be at your own expense.

Rules for vaccinated

If you meet the criteria for being fully vaccinated, you need only book a day 2 PCR test. Also there is no requirement to self-isolate.

Rules that apply to everyone

Everyone travelling to the UK will need to complete a UK PLF before travelling back to the UK. This will be available from up to 48 hours before you are scheduled to arrive back in the UK.

Please allow extra time at both airports – the processes and procedures are still quite new and there are extra documents to be checked.
You should also be aware that just because you can fly to an Amber destination does not mean that you should.
You should weigh up all the options and see if it feels right for you.
Check carefully with your travel insurance provider to ensure that you have sufficient cover should you chose to travel.

Leisure travel during a pandemic is not without a degree of risk and uncertainty, so be aware that your plans may be disrupted (sometimes at short notice). We will be keeping a close eye on the category assigned to Greece/Kefalonia by the UK and will update via our Facebook page.

If you think that there is any information missing or incorrect, please get in touch via our contact form or leave a comment below.

Source: gov.uk, travel.gov.gr


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