Sunday, 20 Sep 2020

Stanley Johnson under fire for Greece holiday – ‘Why’s PM’s family not affected?’

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He said he was in the country “on essential business” to ensure a property he rents out was “Covid-proof” before holidays restart. The 79-year-old flew via Bulgaria after departing from England as Greece isn’t currently allowing direct flights from the UK due to the crisis.

Speaking from the balcony of his villa upon arrival in northern Greece on Wednesday night, Mr Johnson said in a video shared on Instagram: “I’m in Pelion on essential business trying to Covid-proof my property in view of the upcoming letting season.

“I need to set up distancing measures at the property because they’re taking it very seriously here.”

He added: “The Greeks are trying to stop bulk arrivals from the UK but they were quite happy to have me coming in.

“All they wanted to know where I was coming from and what I was doing. Then I had my temperature taken and was swabbed twice.

“We must get these air bridges set up as soon as possible. From what I’ve seen the arrival of the British will not be a danger to the Greeks because they’re so careful here.”

The current guidance on air travel from the UK Foreign Office advises against “all but essential international travel” because of the virus.

Anyone who then returns to the UK has to isolate for 14 days, under the government’s existing rules.

There have been a number of reports that the UK will form “air bridge” agreements with certain countries to allow people to travel there and not isolate on their return – but a list has yet to be published.

Greece has re-opened its borders to some foreign travellers – except those from Sweden and the UK, who have been told they cannot fly to the country until 15 July.

Mr Johnson’s trip has angered MPs with Labour’s Neil Coyle saying: “He has ignored Government advice and he has also entered Greece through a secondary route, so I imagine the Greek authorities will be interested in how he has got there and what he is doing to ensure he’s not spreading anything.

“The Government has taken away rights to travel for all of us, but (the PM’s) own family is not affected.”

Earlier this year Mr Johnson attracted controversy for saying he would “go to a pub” if needed, despite government advice to avoid them at the time.

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