Portugal remains on England’s ‘green list’ for travel without quarantine


Portugal must remain on England’s ‘green list’ for travel without quarantine, despite Wales reimposing a travel ban due to its rising Covid-19 infection rate.Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, announced Thursday that no country will be added or removed from England’s “green list” this week, even though Portugal’s rate has risen to 23 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in- above the normal quarantine trigger point.

The surprise move followed widespread speculation that Portugal reimposed quarantine after crossing the threshold of 20 cases per 100,000.

It is likely to strengthen calls for a comprehensive Covid testing regime for passengers to replace quarantine, a central tenet of the Telegraph’s Test4Travel campaign.

Hundreds of holidaymakers in Portugal are believed to have booked return flights to the UK in anticipation of avoiding the normal 4-hour delay on Saturdays, when the quarantine was reportedly re-imposed, forcing them to self-isolate for 14 days .

This leaves the government facing yet another reaction from angry holidaymakers over confusion over its policy, which escalated on Thursday evening when Wales announced it was adding Portugal to its quarantine list , as well as six Greek islands.

Earlier this week, Wales demanded quarantine for travelers to the Greek island of Zante after a TUI flight imported cases into the principality.

Scotland has introduced self-isolation for arrivals from all over Greece and should follow Portugal’s lead.

Greece remains on England’s “green list” allowing travel without quarantine.

The Department of Transport (DfT) did not immediately explain why it appeared to have opposed its self-reported threshold of 20 per 100,000 cases for the reintroduction of quarantine in Portugal.

Officials were believed to believe the data was “inconclusive” and wanted to give Portugal an extra week to reduce its rate, which is higher than the Netherlands and Austria, two countries under quarantine.

Mr Shapps said: “We continue to keep the list of travel corridors under constant review and will not hesitate to remove countries if necessary. However, there are no additions or deletions in English on Thursday.

“Nonetheless, holidaymakers are reminded: the 14-day quarantine countries can and do change within a very short period of time.”

A government source said: “People who speculate that Portugal is on the quarantine list say the government’s decision not to put it on the list is confusing for people because there has been speculation about it (from them). . ”

Last week, Switzerland, Jamaica and the Czech Republic were removed from the list of “safe” trips. France, Spain, Croatia, Trinidad and Tobago, Austria, Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos Islands and Aruba, Andorra, Belgium and the Bahamas, Serbia and Luxembourg have also been deleted.

Paul Charles, managing director of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said the “off-on” quarantine decisions have created uncertainty for vacationers as well as the industry, and stressed the need for a Complete testing regime on arrival to allow travelers to avoid the 14-day self-isolation.

Searches for flights to Portugal increased after it was removed from the quarantine list, with EasyJet flights sold out on the weekend of August 22. Jet2 has added additional seats in Faro starting Monday, August 24.

Since then cases have climbed, particularly in the north, notably in Porto and the Douro Valley, while the Algarve this weekend reported 37 new cases, its worst daily result since the lockdown, following of an epidemic in a football club.

The Portuguese government accepted one of the reasons: the opening of the country to tourists because it announced that the country would return to a “state of emergency” from September 15, when it will reimpose restrictions, including limits. on gatherings of more than 10 people.


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