There are fears that if Greece joined France and Spain on the list it would collapse the “travel corridor” system that has given overseas holidays to hundreds of thousands of Britons during the pandemic.
The status of Greece was uncertain on Saturday with one Cabinet minister saying that “it all depends on the numbers”. Transport secretary Grant Shapps will review its figures on Thursday.
Ministers are privately now hoping that the position will not be clear cut enough to force a decision before the end of this month to avoid ruining holidays for tens of thousands of Britons.
One minister said: “We should be wary of doing this too precipitately – I do think that the evidence in France seems clearer cut. I hope that they don’t. If we have made a decision to allow people to have holidays then we do need to stand by it.
“If we can just get through the next fortnight then you are through the bulk of the holiday season. If we remove Greece as well you have to start questioning whether we are leaving the bridges intact.”
Friends of Grant Shapps, the Transport secretary who will rubber stamp any changes, pointed out that Belgium took two weeks before it was added to the list and the situation improved in Croatia without any action having to be taken.
Around 160,000 tourists are thought to have got back in time from France to avoid self-isolation, with 30,000 grabbing the last available seats on the Eurostar.