Portugal removed from England’s travel ‘green’ list – POLITICO



Portugal has been taken off England’s travel “green” list of countries that holidaymakers can visit without quarantining on their return.

The country was reclassified as “amber” under the U.K. government’s traffic light system, meaning that travelers returning to England have to quarantine for 10 days. The new policy will go into effect on June 8.

U.K. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told BBC News on Thursday it was a “difficult decision,” but that two factors in the Iberian country had caused concern.

“One is that the positivity rate has nearly doubled since the last review in Portugal,” he said. “The other is there’s a sort of Nepal mutation of the so-called Indian variant which has been detected, and we just don’t know the potential for that to be a vaccine-defeating mutation.”

Shapps said the government doesn’t want to “take the risk” ahead of a planned loosening of restrictions on June 21.

Seven countries — Afghanistan, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Trinidad and Tobago — were added to the “red” list on Thursday, meaning that travelers have to complete a mandatory hotel quarantine when entering England. None were added to the “green” list, dashing hopes of a wider travel reopening.

The Portuguese foreign ministry tweeted that there was “no logic” behind the decision to reclassify the country. Travel operators, meanwhile, said they were caught off guard by the news.

“It’s profoundly unfair, because the Algarve has a very low infection rate, it throws into doubt our chances for a good summer,” Elidérico Veigas, president of the Algarve Hotel and Resort Association, told the SIC Notícias news channel. “Even if the measure is reversed in three weeks, as I expect, it will lead to lots of cancellations.”

“This news has caught us by surprise, it’s received with great sadness by the hotel and tourism sector,” Rodrigo Pinto de Barros, president of the Portuguese Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Association, told TVI24 television. “The government should be trying to show the British authorities that the cases we have here are not worrying, that the rules are being applied and we’re a safe destination.”

Portugal registered 769 new coronavirus cases Thursday, the highest number in almost two months. 

Part of the recent rise in infections has been blamed on wild celebrations in Lisbon on May 11, after local club Sporting won the national football championship for the first time in 19 years.

Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa has also come under fire for failing to enforce measures aimed at curbing the virus when the city of Porto hosted the UEFA Champions League final last weekend. Thousands of fans descended on the city to watch the match between Chelsea and Manchester City, which had originally been scheduled to take place in Istanbul but was rearranged because Turkey was on England’s “red” list.

The event “didn’t go perfectly,” Costa said on Monday. “It is clear that what happened this weekend cannot serve as an example, it must serve as a lesson.”

Aitor Hernández-Morales contributed reporting.





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