Portugal 'hopeful' for UK travel to begin in May says expert
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Britons are eager to head abroad for summer holidays after more than a year of strict Covid restrictions. Lockdowns have prevented international travel, however soon the Government’s roadmap will allow for foreign holidays. So what does this mean for those wanting to jet off to Portugal?
Around 2.15 million British tourists visit Portugal each year, making it one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe.
With sprawling beaches, hot, sunny weather and bustling cities Portugal has a host of options for would-be holidaymakers.
The Government’s lockdown roadmap pinpoints May 17 as the date for international travel to resume, however, there will be restrictions as to where Brits can travel.
Countries will be categorised under Government guidelines, with a traffic light system outlining the countries safe to travel to – Green – countries needing quarantine on return – Amber – and countries where travel will still be banned – Red.
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Some countries may also enforce their own entry rules, such as requiring visitors to be vaccinated, or negative Covid tests.
But Portugal’s travel leaders want UK holidaymakers to return from the middle of May without needing the vaccine.
Manuel Lobo Antunes, Portugal’s ambassador to the UK, said UK holidaymakers could be able to visit the country next month.
He told Sky News the country is “hopeful from the middle of May, regular mobility between the UK and Portugal and vice versa can be established”.
Asked if Britons who have not been vaccinated can travel to Portugal, he added: “Yes, that’s the idea, that’s what we wanted, to as much as possible go back to the regime that existed before the pandemic.
“It’s in that direction we are working and that is possible.”
This would depend on how the UK Government categorised Portugal when the traffic light system is announced.
However, it looks likely Portugal could be on the Green list.
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PC Agency’s Paul Charles tweeted: “Portugal should be green from 17th May.”
“No variants, low infection rate, increasing vaccination rollout and good genomic sequencing.”
“Interestingly just 0.02 percent of its infections this year have been the Brazil variant. Vast majority were Kent variant.”
However, Brits will have to wait until early May when the countries are announced to be sure.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky News: “I have to say that so far the data does continue to look good from a UK perspective, notwithstanding those concerns about where people might be travelling to and making sure we’re protected from the disease being reimported.”
He added he will set out which countries fall into the “green”, “amber” and “red” categories under the new risk-based traffic light system “towards the beginning of May”.
This will determine what testing and quarantine requirements travellers will face when they return from various destinations.
Countries like Iceland, Malta and Gibraltar have also been suggested as eligible for the green list.
Travel to the green listed countries will require the following
– Travellers arriving in the UK from countries on the green list will need to take a Cover test before leaving whichever country they are travelling from
– On or before the second day after arriving in the UK, they will need to take a PCR test, which costs around £120
– Travellers from green list countries will not need to quarantine on returning to the UK unless they test positive
– Under the rules, any test packages must be booked and paid for before travelling from a list of government-approved providers
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