United Kingdom drops Portugal from the safe travel list

  • ECO News
  • 4 June 2021

The United Kingdom decided on Thursday to remove Portugal from its quarantine-free travel list due to rising Covid-19 case numbers in the country.

The United Kingdom decided on Thursday to remove Portugal from the so-called green-list for travel, according to statements from the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps. Thus, national tourism will be without its competitive advantage over other European destinations, since Portugal was the only European Union country on the green list.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed the decision, in an interview with the BBC, explaining that it is an “approach that puts safety first” and “gives the best chance” to continue the planned final stage of England’s reopening on June 21. Shapps asked for “a little patience” from the population, pointing out that he “doesn’t want to take the risk”.

Shapps said Portugal has doubled its infection rate since the last ruling and that a sort of Nepal mutation of the so-called Indian variant of Covid-19 has been identified. “We just don’t know the potential for that to be a vaccine defeating mutation,” he added. The UK decision includes the archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores.

This will put Portugal on the amber list from next Tuesday, meaning that British holidaymakers will have to quarantine at home for 10 days and take at least two PCR tests. This period can be shortened if they have a second negative test on day five. Despite this, this rule discourages travel to countries on this amber list.

According to The Telegraph, the country will lose its quarantine-free status from next Tuesday (June 8) at 4 am. This leaves only two countries left for British holidaymakers to travel to at the moment: Iceland and Gibraltar.

There is even a worse situation: the red list, made up of over 30 countries, where British tourists have to comply with the same quarantine and testing rules of the country of origin, but are also required to stay in designated hotels at a cost of £1,750 per adult.