I think the media is reporting what they are being briefed and what their readers want to hear. Air bridges do imply reciprocal arrangements but they are event driven not date drive. You open an air bridge between two countries if the risk of infection in the two countries are comparable. The government might want an agreement by the 6 July but that has to depend on infection rates in the UK and Greece being comparable.
Currently Greece is running roughly between 10 and 20 new cases per day with the odd localised spike above that. If you use the higher figure and scale for the difference between population sizes that would translate as somewhere around 130 new cases per day in the UK. Currently the UK is running at around 1,000 new cases per day. There is no way that you can consider those infection rates comparable and so the risk is not comparable. The infection rate in the UK is also falling quite slowly at about 15 % per week. If that continues then it would take about 13 weeks to get the UK infection rate comparable with the Greek infection rate. If Greece allows an air bridge with the UK on 6 July it is basically saying that the economic gain of UK tourism is more important than the health risk to the Greek population. Given that tourism accounts for about 20 % of GDP and the UK accounts for about 20 % of Greek tourism they are placing quite a big health bet to try to rescue 4 % of GDP. In reality even opening on 6 July would still be a truncated tourist season so probably less than 4 % of GDP. Air bridges with some (BUT NOT ALL!) of the Scandinavian countries would make more sense.
As an example Norway has a very low infection rate typically between 10 and 20 new cases per day with the odd small spike above that. Norway already allows people to enter without quarantine from Iceland, Finland and Denmark. Iceland is a small country and has had an infection rate of between 0 and 2 new cases per day for two months now so clearly very low risk. They have had a very intensive testing regime from early in the outbreak. Finland and Denmark have a similar population sizes to Norway. Finland has a similar number of new cases per day so is clearly similar risk to Norway while Denmark is a bit higher between 30 and 40 new cases per day. Norway has obviously assessed that they can accept that increase in risk. Greece has a similar number of new cases per day to Norway and Finland so it ought to be fairly easy to open air bridges with all these countries with little risk in any direction.
Sweden, on the other hand, is Norway's closest neighbour but is running at a similar level of new cases per day as the UK, i.e. around 1,000. Anybody entering Norway from Sweden would have to quarantine for a period because the infection rate, and hence the risk, is so much higher. There is a road route from Denmark to Norway via the bridge into Sweden. If someone travels from Denmark to Norway using that route and doesn't stop they do not need to quarantine. If, however, they stay overnight in Sweden then they do have to quarantine. Greece needs to take a similar attitude to indirect travel.
PS Spain and Italy are currently running in the range 200 to 300 new cases per day. If Greece is prepared to open air bridges with them then that tells you what the UK needs to get down to if it wants an air bridge, i.e. about 6 weeks at the current rate of fall.
Last edited by Kilkis
on Sat Jun 27, 2020 1:42 pm, edited 3 times in total.