Portugal is said to have been excluded from the UK’s list of holiday destinations which Brits will be able to visit without the need to self-isolate for 14 days on return.
From July 6, Britons will be able to travel to the safest destinations without having to quarantine for two weeks when they return home. The government was expected to announce further details today but this has been delayed until Wednesday.
Officials will reveal which European countries are deemed safe for travel by placing them in ‘green’ and ‘amber’ categories. Reports have suggested that tourist hot spots such as France, Spain, Italy, Croatia, and Germany are likely to be given the green light to couple up with the UK to create so-called ‘air bridges’.
But Portuguese officials have been left reeling at news that Portugal has not made the list. The country is the only European nation with a higher rate of infections than the UK.
Home affairs minister, Eduardo Cabrita, told Diário de Notícia newspaper: ‘Portugal has better public health indicators and better pandemic response indicators than the United Kingdom.
‘So there’s no reason, according to all the comparative criteria, for the existence of any application of quarantine rules on return to the United Kingdom.’
The decision is likely to affect the already hard-hit tourism industry in Portugal, with Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve among popular holiday destinations for Britons.
But areas such as Lisbon, Amadora, Loures, Odivelas and Sintra have suffered new outbreaks in recent weeks with restrictions on group meetings set to be reimposed.
Under the new regulations, countries with high infection rates, such as Brazil and the US, will be placed in the ‘red’ category meaning Britons will have to self-isolate for 14 days upon return.
Passengers that travel to green or amber countries will not have to self-isolate but will have to fill out a ‘locator’ form so officials can track their movements and find out whether they develop symptoms.
Following the announcement of the traffic light system, travel companies reported their biggest Saturday sales ever as bargain hunters rushed to book a flight before prices shot up.
Spain-holiday.com said it had a record-breaking Saturday morning while TUI, Britain’s leading tour operator, reported a rise of 50% in bookings compared to last week.
However, Home Secretary Priti Patel cautioned that there are still some negotiations to go with other countries yet.
Speaking to Sky News’ Ridge on Sunday, Ms Patel said: ‘You will have to, along with members of the public, listen to the advice, see what the government is saying in terms of the countries that we are going to be opening up with, who we are working with, the countries that my colleague the Transport Secretary (Grant Shapps) is in dialogue with right now.
‘But of course these measures won’t come in overnight, they will take time, because some of this will be down to negotiation, discussions with certain countries.’
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