Parts of Portugal are practically free from the virus, but its overall infection rate is too high to allow an air bridge with the UK at present. However, it is rumoured the UK Government will allow regional travel corridors so Brits can holiday in these COVID-free areas without needing to quarantine on return.
The list of countries exempt from UK quarantine is due to be reviewed on Monday, July 27, and it might include regional air bridges.
This means specific areas within countries might open up for tourists, while others remain banned.
The idea will allow tourism to pick up again in countries that have suffered a blow from the impact of the virus.
Will regional air bridges be introduced in Portugal?
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Portugal’s number of daily cases is at its lowest since May 11, currently sitting at 127.
Certain areas of the country are nearly free of the virus, including popular holiday-spots such as the Algarve, Madeira, and the Azores.
Lisbon has a much higher infection rate, causing the national rate up and above the UK’s threshold for a national air bridge.
Portugal’s national rate is at 41.75, and the UK’s threshold is 20.
According to the Telegraph, regional air bridges are being considered by the government and Portugal may be on the list.
A source told the paper: “Regional air bridges are an option for countries with localised outbreaks.
“The US is a major issue. If you judge it nationally, the absence of travel could go on for months, which is where individual testing of arrivals could work.”
Many Brits are desperate to book a holiday in the Algarve, and the region has under 800 cases at present.
Madeira has about 100 cases, and the Azores a little more than 150 cases.
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Can you travel to Portugal from UK?
You can technically travel to Portugal from the UK right now, but you would be going against the FCO advice.
This means you will not get adequate travel insurance and you could face being stuck abroad if a local lockdown is reimposed.
On Monday, this could change if a regional air bridge is established with the mentioned areas.
However, the Portuguese Government does not seem hopeful about an agreement.
Secretary of State for Tourism Rita Marques said she does not expect regional air bridges to be established with Portugal if the UK Government continues to use the same criteria.
Ms Marques believes the UK and other countries should use factors other than infection rate as an indicator for border decisions.
If you are willing to take the risk against the UK Government’s advice, you will still be welcomed in Portugal but will need to quarantine for two weeks on return.
The President of Tourism in Portugal, Luis Araújo, said: “Portugal has been welcoming international visitors and the tourism industry has been in operation for several weeks now.
“The situation at the moment remains to be that people who travel from the United Kingdom are 100 per cent welcome and able to visit Portugal, without the need to quarantine upon arrival.”
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