Portugal, after just a few weeks on the travel corridor list, could be removed this week in the government’s weekly review. The government is announcing every Thursday whether countries are being added or removed from the list. Last week, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Jamaica were all removed from the travel corridor list.
Britons returning from those countries back to the UK now have to quarantine for 14 days.
The government is currently looking at research from the Joint Biosecurity Centre on whether to add or remove a country from the travel corridor list.
No 10 is also looking at which countries have more than 20 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day period.
CEO of the travel consultancy, The PC Agency and former BBC News Presenter Paul Charles has been posting updates on Twitter regarding countries’ case rates.
He posted yesterday: “Mon update: A tough call for @transportgovuk in this Thursday’s weekly review as #Portugal now moves firmly into the red zone for quarantine while #Gibraltar still tops the list.
“Timing may help as most #British tourists will be heading home this week.”
He added: “But I’d expect @transportgovuk to take a tough line on re-adding #Portugal to the quarantine list, supported by #NicolaSturgeon.
“Also note the surge in cases in #Jamaica, rising higher up the list with 244 cases yesterday.
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“#Greece sees a drop, good news for many, while #Italy is inching closer to the amber zone.
“It should veer clear of being added to the quarantine list this week though.”
Portugal’s coronavirus cases have reached 21.1 per 100,000 people.
The case rate is above the Netherlands which was removed from the UK’s travel corridor list last month.
Writing in The Times, Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group, said adding Portugal back to the quarantine list would cause “chaos”.
He said: “Another U-turn by the Government, adding Portugal to the quarantine list, will cause further chaos and hardship for travellers.”
Mr Walsh added: “The Government is using arbitrary statistics to effectively ban 160 countries and in the process destroying the economy.
“The Government needs to introduce a testing regime to restore confidence.”
Google search data showed a significant spike in searches for the term “flights to Portugal” by users in the UK at around 6pm on Thursday August 20, the day the lifting of the quarantine was announced.
A number of easyJet flights from London airports to destinations across Portugal on the weekend of August 22 were already unavailable on the Friday.
Jet2 has added extra seats to Faro from Monday August 24 from across the UK.
Algarve Tourism Bureau executive director Hugo Nascimento said it would be “unfair” for Portugal to be put back on the UK’s quarantine list.
He added: “Portugal and the Algarve adopted very early measures and all the cases were dealt with very quickly. Everyone is following the rules.”
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