Ministers are therefore likely to remove Portugal from the safe list at a meeting Thursday after reviewing the latest risk assessment by the Joint Biosafety Center. If they do, the new rules for travelers arriving from Portugal will be imposed from 4 a.m. on Saturday – just two weeks after they are lifted.
A government source said: “Given the development of public health in Europe, expect an update around tea time on Thursday.”Meanwhile, new quarantine rules imposed by the Scottish government on travelers from Greece went into effect at 4 a.m. on Thursday. The Welsh government has taken a more targeted approach to Greece by only asking arrivals from Zante Island to go into quarantine. And the UK’s largest tour operator, Tui, has suspended its holiday to the resort town of Laganas on Zakynthos.
Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething has urged the UK government to call an urgent meeting to consider Greece’s potential risk.
Westminster is unlikely to impose quarantine rules on travel to Greece, as the level of infection is below what is considered dangerous. There were 14.3 cases of coronavirus per 100,000 people in Greece in the seven days leading up to September 1, a level similar to that in the UK.
Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said: “We are doing everything in our power to make sure that anyone coming from the UK is safe in Greece.”
Last week, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps rejected the idea of imposing UK quarantine on people returning from specific regions within countries. A spokesperson for the Department of Transportation said, “We are taking a national approach to protect public health. But it is for the decentralized administrations to make their own decisions in matters of public health. ”
Paul Charles, managing director of travel consultancy PC Agency, predicted that Portugal would be taken off the safe travel list, but Greece would stay there despite action by the Scottish government.
Vacationers hoping to avoid quarantine face limited options and expensive fares, despite additional airline flights. Google search data showed a significant increase in searches for the term ‘flights to Portugal’ by users in the UK around 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 20, the day the news of the quarantine change was announced.
EasyJet and British Airways have no flights available from Faro – which serves the Algarve – to Great Britain on Friday.
Rory Boland, editor of the consumer group Which ?, condemned the British approach to quarantine measures.
He said: “Again, random announcements and rumors around the 40s have sparked chaos and confusion among vacationers, with many faced with an unenviable choice between paying exorbitant prices for last-minute flights to return home or the disruption caused by two isolated weeks on their return.