BRITS are still banned from travelling to Portugal – despite other countries being deemed safe for holidays which have higher coronavirus infections.
The country remains on the travel ban list after a review by the UK government, which saw Luxembourg removed from the green list.
Portugal, which has seen a spike in cases in Lisbon, still has low infections compared to other European destinations – there are just 13,001 active cases, compared to France’s 74,819 and Spain’s 28,443.
While Spain was removed from the safe list last week, Portugal is yet to be allowed again.
Only Luxembourg was removed from the safe list, after 700 new cases were confirmed last week, while Belgium and Croatia are thought to be monitored as well.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Portugal’s Covid rates per 100,000 of the population are also lower than Belgium, Monaco and Andorra – all of which are also on the safe list.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said they were “looking at this all the time” in relation to the safe travel list, but warned that due to the global pandemic, they could have to force last minute changes.
Full list of countries with no UK quarantine
- Akrotiri and Dhekelia
- Antigua and Barbuda
- The Bahamas
- Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba
- British Antarctic Territory
- British Indian Ocean Territory
- British Virgin Islands
- Cayman Islands
- the Channel Islands
- Czech Republic
- Estonia (added 28 July – if you arrived in England from Estonia before 28 July, you will need to self–isolate)
- Falkland Islands
- Faroe Islands
- French Polynesia
- Hong Kong
- the Isle of Man
- Latvia (added 28 July – if you arrived in England from Latvia before 28 July, you will need to self–isolate)
- Macao (Macau)
- the Netherlands
- New Caledonia
- New Zealand
- Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
- San Marino
- Slovakia (added 28 July – if you arrived in England from Slovakia before 28 July, you will need to self–isolate)
- Slovenia (added 28 July – if you arrived in England from Slovenia before 28 July, you will need to self–isolate)
- South Korea
- South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
- St Barthélemy
- St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Pierre and Miquelon
- St Vincent and the Grenadines (added 28 July – if you arrived in England from St Vincent and the Grenadines before 28 July, you will need to self–isolate)
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- Vatican City State
He added: “That’s why we had to act so fast on Spain. I have no regrets about acting as fast as we did.”
Portugal’s foreign minister said the UK government’s decision to continue the country’s ban was “absurd”, while travel experts have warned the choice could “destroy confidence” in the tourism industry.
Augusto Santos Silva tweeted that the decision was “not backed by facts.”
The country is one of the UK’s favourite holiday destinations with 2.1 million holidaymakers heading there last year.
Paul Charles, spokesman for the Quash Quarantine campaign group, slammed the “lack of consistency,” adding: “Why should Portugal be excluded when Belgium is included? “
“Belgium has the added fact that it is so much more connected to other countries around Europe. Confidence has collapsed and bookings have fallen off a cliff.”
The government is also considering regional air bridges, which would allow travel to certain parts of the country which have lower infection rates than others.
For example, Brits could head to the Algarve or Madeira in Portugal, while Lisbon is still banned, or could visit particular US states which have lower cases.
A source told The Telegraph: “Regional air bridges are an option for countries with localised outbreaks.”
Earlier this year, travel corridors between the UK and Spain were previously suggested between Birmingham and Majorca, if they had lower cases of coronavirus.
Summer holidays abroad are already facing chaos – Brits in Spain have been warned to come home early by Jet2 or risk paying for their own flights home.
The airline has also cancelled all flights and holidays to Cyprus until August 7, despite the country welcoming Brits from tomorrow.