Researchers say travel corridors between the UK and sunny destinations resulted in a large increase in Covid cases when travellers returned home – offering a warning as Brits get ready to travel after May 17 on vaccine passports.
Last summer, British holidaymakers jetted to countries across southern Europe in travel corridors – designed to protect people and contain the spread of Covid. But analysis of Covid cases shows that Greece was the largest source of infections between June and September, accounting for 21% of new cases.
The analysis, conducted by Public Health England (PHE) and the Covid-19 Genomics UK Consortium, found 16% of new infections last summer resulted from travel to Croatia, while travellers to Spain were responsible for 14% of new infections.
The PHE study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, looked at travel corridors introduced by the UK on July 4, allowing holidaymakers to travel without having to quarantine on their return. As Covid cases spiked, France and Spain shut their corridors. The one to Greece stayed open until November 14.
The risk of increased cases from traveling has been highlighted as the British government plans to lift current restrictions on private travel on May 17 and as the EU plans a “digital green certificate” – a vaccine passport – to allow for near-to-normal travel to resume this summer.
Cyprus, Portugal, Spain, and Greece have all indicated they are willing to open their borders to vacationers who can show proof of vaccination against Covid.