Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal: Latest FCDO warnings amid changing Covid restrictions

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Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal are just a small selection of popular European holiday destinations which Britons typically flock to in their masses. However, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, rules and restrictions are constantly changing.

In recent days, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has updated its travel advice pages for Britons either currently in these nations or thinking about jetting off to them.

What are the latest FCDO updates?


The latest FCDO update for Spain includes new “information and advice on entering quarantine while in Spain”.

Under the current guidelines for travel, Britons must take a COVID-19 test before returning to the UK.

Those who discover they have a positive result will not be able to return to the UK, and must instead notify the Spanish authorities.

“No travel is risk-free during COVID,” states the FCDO.

“Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example, due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

“If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.”

Britons are advised to ensure they have access to enough money in the case they must extend their stay in Spain or pay for treatment. They should also be aware of the coverage provided by their travel insurance.

Recently, various new or tightened restrictions have come into force in different regions of Spain.

The FCDO explains: “Regional governments retain legal powers to ease or tighten restrictions within their region if deemed necessary to control the spread of the virus.”

This includes nighttime curfews, changes to opening hours for retail and hospitality establishments and potential partial lockdowns.

“You should consult regional incidence levels, refer to the advice of local authorities in your destination and ensure you are aware of the specific measures in place prior to travel,” advises the FCDO.

At the time of writing, Spain is on the amber list for travel.

Fully-vaccinated Britons do not need to quarantine on their return to the UK from Spain.

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The FCDO has issued a new warning regarding the requirements surrounding “vaccination certification” for travel in Italy.

Italy is currently on the amber list for travel, however, until August 30 travellers who have been in the UK, in the previous 14 days, must present a negative molecular or antigen test taken in the 48 hours preceding entry into Italy.

They must also self-isolate for five days, at the end of which they must take a rapid antigenic or molecular swab test for COVID-19 and test negative for release.

“Travellers arriving without proof of a negative test and details of where they will self-isolate may be refused entry,” warns the FCDO.

Once in Italy, however, there are some further regulations that must be met in order to be able to access certain amenities or travel domestically.

“There are currently no ‘orange’ or ‘red’ regions but moving to and from ‘orange’ and ‘red’ regions will only be permitted for residents holding a ‘green certificate’, also known as an EU digital COVID certificate,” explains the FCDO.

“Your NHS certificate will be accepted to access leisure and hospitality features.”


The FCDO recently updates its information and advice on entering quarantine while in Greece for those who may test positive for COVID-19.

Currently, Greece is on the amber list, although concerns have been mounting over the number of Covid cases in the country.

Britons are able to enter Greece with either evidence of a negative coronavirus test or proof they have even fully vaccinated.

As per travel restrictions, Britons must take a Covid test before returning to the UK.

If the result is positive, they must inform the Greek authorities.

“If you test positive for COVID-19 you may have to enter a quarantine hotel,” states the FCDO.

“The UK Government will not cover mandatory quarantine costs for British nationals.

“In Greece, the Greek authorities will pay the cost of your quarantine.

“EHIC or GHIC cards can not be used to cover any additional expenses you incur whilst staying in a quarantine hotel.

“Make sure you have access to funds to cover the costs or take out insurance, checking the policy has adequate cover.

If you have or are entitled to an EHIC or GHIC and you need medical treatment while staying at a quarantine hotel, the UK Government will fund treatment as usual through the EHIC/GHIC scheme.”


The latest Portugal update from the FCDO regards the easing of some lockdown measures across the nation.

According to the FCDO: “The Portuguese government has introduced a new three-phased plan to lift restrictions in line with vaccination rates.”

The first phase came into force on August 1 and included an end to curfew, a return to normal trading hours for shops and other commercial premises. There will be a return to longer opening hours for restaurants and cafés – last orders are at 1am.

The closing time for restaurants and eateries is at 2am.

As part of the easing restrictions, the government is allowing an increase in the number of people who may eat together in a restaurant – six indoors and 10 outdoors.

Bars are now allowed to open subject to rules on capacity and trading hours, with last orders at 1am and a closing time of 2am.

Currently dancing and other indoor entertainment is not permitted in bars and similar establishments.

Portugal is also allowing the return of open-air training events and sporting activities, as well as outdoor and indoor exercise.

The nation is currently on the amber list for travel.

Mainland Portugal has introduced quarantine for travellers from the UK who are not fully vaccinated.

All travellers, apart from children under 12, must have proof of a negative COVID-19 test to travel to or through mainland Portugal.

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