Portugal: UK 'still waiting on full travel rules' says expert
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Portugal is the summer getaway of choice for millions of Britons each year, with sprawling beaches and beautiful cities. Unfortunately more than a year of lockdown restrictions have put a halt on holidays, however, international travel is permitted as of May 17 to a specific list of countries.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has outlined a way for travel to resume from May 17, with Britons permitted to head abroad without restrictions to countries on the green list.
Green list countries are determined by vaccination levels, hospitalisations, ability to analyse Covid variants and levels of Covid.
However, some European countries are facing another wave of infections, making holidays abroad uncertain.
British holidaymakers hoping to jet off to Portugal as soon as UK travel restrictions lift are facing uncertainty after the nation’s government decided to extend its “state of calamity” until at least May 30.
Is Portugal on the red list?
When the Government’s traffic light list of countries was announced, Portugal was added to the green list.
This means Britons would be able to travel to Portugal from the UK without having to quarantine upon their return.
However, coronavirus cases in Portugal have continued to rise and guidance published on the Portuguese government’s website on Thursday stated ministers had approved a motion to continue the current level of lockdown until May 30 at the earliest.
This comes as a blow to the thousands of British football fans who were hoping to travel to the city of Porto for the all-English Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea on May 29.
Portuguese MP Cristovao Norte said on Friday he did not know if Britons will be allowed to visit Portugal from Monday, May 17.
He said there was “no reasons, nor political or scientific reasons to maintain restrictions for travel from the UK to Portugal.”
Mr Norte said: “We are today going to make an urgent inquiry asking the (Portuguese) government whether or not the English travel can come to Portugal next Monday because we are three days ahead from 17th and no one is sure what is going to happen.
“Our vaccination process is going steadily and it is important a decision is taken immediately.
“The message is clear: there are no reasons, nor political or scientific reasons to maintain restrictions for travel from the UK to Portugal.”
However, during the current “state of calamity”, entry to Portugal is only allowed if you are a returning resident, according to information on the FCDO website.
Despite this, an announcement today stated Portugal will allow UK tourists from Monday, so long as they have a negative Covid test.
Travel agents have reported huge demand for trips to Portugal following the publication of the green list.
EasyJet has added 105,000 extra seats to its flights serving green tier destinations, while Tui plans to use aircraft which normally operate long-haul routes to accommodate the surge of people booked to fly to Portugal.
A spokeswoman for Tui said: “We’re monitoring the situation closely and will provide a further update as soon as we have clarification from the Portuguese government.
“We would like to reassure customers that we will contact them directly if their flight or holiday is impacted to discuss their options, this includes offering a full refund or the chance to change the holiday for free.”
Guidance from the Department of Transport warns many green list countries still have restrictions on UK travellers.
It advises passengers to check all entry and testing requirements and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice for Portugal before booking travel.
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