Portugal needs a “miracle drop” in coronavirus cases to avoid returning to the UK’s quarantine list, it was claimed last night.
The warning came just a week after tourists were given the green light to visit the country.
Portugal reported its highest new daily virus figure in seven weeks on Friday, with 401 cases detected.
Portugal reported its highest new daily virus figure in seven weeks on Friday, with 401 cases detected (tourists wearing masks on busy tourist street, pictured)
Paul Charles, head of travel consultancy firm PC Agency, said figures for Portugal suggest it could be removed from the Foreign Ministry’s travel lanes list within days.
He added: “Portugal is likely to return to the UK’s quarantine list this week and the country itself is now preparing for a ‘state of emergency’ from September 15.
“He hasn’t been able to handle his workload over the past two weeks as more tourists have entered Portugal, especially Lisbon and Porto. “
The PC agency, which publishes a daily tally of country infection rates, has classified Portugal as an ‘orange’ nation, meaning it is approaching the UK quarantine threshold with 19.4 cases of the virus per 100,000 people on a cumulative seven-day tally – compared to 12.2 in Britain.
Portugal is listed as an ‘orange’ nation, which means it is approaching the UK quarantine threshold with 19.4 cases of the virus per 100,000 people on a cumulative seven-day tally
The government’s threshold for imposing quarantine would be 20 cases per 100,000.
Mr. Charles stressed: “We will have to see a miracle drop in the number of cases by Thursday to avoid being added to the government’s on-off quarantine list again because it is rapidly turning into the red zone. “
He warned that the numbers were also increasing in Italy.
He insisted: ‘Only a clear UK government airport testing strategy will remove this agonizing wait that many UK tourists face every week, allowing them to book with confidence and test on their return, saving jobs in the travel industry and help it recover faster. ‘
It is estimated that around 75,000 UK nationals are on holiday in Portugal or are expected to visit shortly.
Many could be forced to return home early to pass a deadline before a quarantine restriction is imposed.
A clamp on travelers from Portugal would represent further embarrassment for a government that has been blasted for its ‘chaotic’ rally in the travel industry during the pandemic.
At the end of June, ministers began urging Britons to go on holiday abroad to boost the travel industry as restrictions were relaxed, to warn within weeks that “no travel is safe”.
At the end of June, ministers began urging Britons to go on holiday abroad to boost the travel industry, with restrictions eased only to warn in weeks that ‘no travel is safe’ .
This followed the decision to introduce quarantine measures for arrivals from Spain with just five hours’ notice.
Mr Charles suggested yesterday that Portugal had been “a victim of its own success by quickly attracting so many tourists”.
When Portugal was added to the list of travel lanes on August 22 – meaning holidaymakers don’t need to quarantine for 14 days upon their return to the UK – the Skyscanner flight comparison site reported a 2000% increase in bookings.
THE WHOLE FLIGHT IS SAID TO ISOLATE
All 193 passengers and crew aboard a flight departing from the Greek island of Zakynthos have been asked to self-isolate after travelers tested positive for the coronavirus.
Public Health Wales announced yesterday that at least seven people from three different groups have tested positive since arriving in Cardiff last Tuesday and that everyone else on board is now considered ‘close contact’.
It comes days after 11 teenagers from Plymouth also contracted Covid-19 after a break on Zante, which is not subject to UK quarantine rules.
Travel website Trivago reported that bookings in Portugal last week were up 125% from the same point last year, while airlines such as Jet2 and Ryanair rolled out additional flights.
When the quarantine restrictions for travel from Portugal were lifted, its seven-day virus case rate was 14.6 per 100,000 people, while the UK figure was 11.2.
But the PC Agency chart showed that on Friday Portugal’s rate climbed to 16.4, and climbed back to 18.1 on Saturday and 19.4 yesterday.
The Association of British Travel Agents said the government’s quarantine measures were wreaking havoc and putting jobs at risk.
A spokesperson added: “The travel recovery has not gone as expected for the industry and unfortunately businesses continue to be negatively affected and jobs are being lost at an alarming rate.
“As long as quarantine remains the government’s primary containment strategy against Covid-19, the travel industry will continue to suffer.
“Given the rapidly changing infection rates in different regions, it is essential that the government acts as quickly as possible to assess the risk on a regionalised basis and not across the country.
Some 17 countries previously deemed “safe” for the holidays had newly imposed quarantine restrictions last month.
Travelers risk a criminal record and a fine of £ 1,000 if they do not follow quarantine rules. The ministers say a total of 4,200 cases have been referred to police so far.