Italy has lost its travel corridor from the UK after being removed from the government’s safe lists, transport secretary Grant Shapps has confirmed via Twitter.

The change also applies to the Vatican City and San Marino.

However, Crete has had its travel corridor restored, meaning customers returning will no longer be required to self-isolate. Last week, five other Greek islands rejoined the list.

In a departure from the usual implementation of changes to corridors, the new rules will apply from 4am on Sunday, October 18, rather than the same time on Saturday.

The transport secretary also confirmed the removal of Italy was a UK-wide policy, and said that the rules relating to Greece also now applied consistently across the UK, including Scotland.

Flavio Zappacosta, UK & Ireland manager of the Italian National Tourist Board, said: “It is, of course, very disappointing to learn of the announcement that Italy has been removed from the UK’s safe travel list today.

“Our cities, coasts, countryside and major attractions are world class and we have  implemented robust protocols to keep our visitors safe so this is a very disappointing development for tourism in Italy and will surely delay our recovery.

“Tourism is one of our most important industries and key to the nation’s recovery from the terrible impact of Covid-19. We would like to see testing at UK airports implemented as soon as possible as this could help alleviate the quarantine issue and establish consumer confidence once more in visiting such a popular destination as Italy.”

Ilias Kokotos, director of Elounda SA Hotels & Resorts in Crete, said: “We are absolutely delighted that the UK has now formed an air bridge with Crete and we are expecting a significant increase in bookings following this new partnership.

“Crete is a very popular Greek destination for British travellers and the lifting of quarantine restrictions enables guests to return and experience the end of the season.

“At present, the region of Elounda is extremely safe with less than 10 cases confirmed since the start of the pandemic, and none in the last 45 days.”

On Wednesday, Shapps addressed Abta’s virtual Travel Convention and said the government was favouring a “test and release” system which could shorten quarantine to about a week.

He added: “I believe significantly more people will be flying in the months ahead. I know the travel industry is hurting. We will work with you to get people travelling again. But they only way to do that is to do it safely.”