Portugal could be dropped from the UK’s green list when scientists and ministers meet to discuss Britain’s Covid foreign travel policy later today.
In a move that will be a bitter blow to millions of Britons hoping for a holiday abroad this summer, the Government is reportedly considering moving Portugal on to the amber list as part of its upcoming review of restrictions.
If the country is moved on to the amber list, holiday-makers entering the UK from Portugal will no longer be allowed to return quarantine free.
They will instead have to self-isolate for 10 days and pay out for two PCR tests.
It will be a huge kick in the teeth to Britons who have already booked a holiday in hot spots such as the Algarve, believing they will be able to return quarantine free.
And it will also be another damaging blow to the already struggling travel industry, which had hoped for more countries to be added to the green list this month.
It comes as Boris Johnson last night warned that the Government ‘will not hesitate’ in moving countries off the green list.
And Portugal is reportedly the country of concern, with scientists said to be worried about rising Covid figures in the country – which last weekend welcomed thousands of English football fans for the Champions League final in Porto.
Yesterday Portugal saw its highest daily number of cases since March. And the country currently has a case rate of around 37 infections per 100,000 people – higher than the UK’s rate of 34.5.
The final decision will be made tomorrow when scientists from the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) meet to discuss the travel restrictions.
Asked about the green list on Wednesday, Mr Johnson said: ‘You’ve got to wait and see what the JBC says and what the recommendations are about travel.
Portugal (pictured: A beach in Cascais near Lisbon) could be dropped from the UK’s travel green list today – in a move that will be a bitter blow to millions of Britons hoping for a holiday abroad this summer
The Government is reportedly considering moving Portugal from the non-quarantine green list to the 10-day self-isolation amber list in its latest review of travel restrictions
The current UK travel ‘Green List’ as it wasn announced ahead of May 17. Portugal could be the first country to be removed from this list
Ryanair boss Ryan O’Leary has today called for the Government to quickly lift restrictions on travel to the US and top holiday destinations in Europe.
The airline chief said it was ‘absolutely imperative’ that ‘big tourist destinations’ such as as Greece and Spain be put on the UK’s travel green list by the end of this week.
He told Sky News: ‘The restrictions should be lifted, we should be allowing British families to travel to the US and Europe, and also to return without having to complete useless PCR forms for people who’ve already been vaccinated.
‘Nothing is absolutely safe but it is scientists and doctors’ jobs to urge caution and care and worry.
‘The vaccines are effective against the Indian variant, it’s a scariant being used by the science and medical professions to urge caution.
‘It’s time that we got on with our lives.’
‘We’re going to try to allow people to travel, as I know that many people want to, but we’ve got to be cautious and we’ve got to continue to put countries on the red list, on the amber list, when that is necessary.
‘I want you to know we will have no hesitation in moving countries from the green list to the amber list to the red list, if we have to do so.
‘The priority is to continue the vaccination rollout, to protect the people of this country.’
Instead of being put on the amber list, ministers could opt to put Portugal on a new ‘watch list’.
This would allow holiday-makers time to react before the country is moved from green to amber.
In the past, holiday-makers have normally been given days – and sometimes up to a week – to return to the UK from countries where travel restrictions have been changed.
A source told the Telegraph last night: ‘The watch list is an ideal and things could change more quickly if, for example, a super-variant was found in a country.
‘We won’t take any chances with it.’
While Portugal is one of the countries facing being moved up the Government’s travel list scale, Malta could be one of the few countries moved down.
The Mediterranean island, a popular destination for British tourists, is currently on the amber list.
But it is the most likely country, if any, to be moved down to the green list, according to the Telegraph.
The Cayman Islands, Grenada, British Virgin Islands, Finland and some Caribbean islands are also among the countries that could be moved into the green list.
Cyprus’ deputy tourism minister yesterday said the country ‘absolutely deserves’ to be on the UK’s travel green list.
Read More: DailyMail