Portugal holidays to return? ‘Air bridge’ review could see nation added to exemption list

Holidays to Portugal have been out of bounds to Britons this month. The government released a list of countries that Britons can travel to without facing England’s quarantine rules on their return. However, Portugal, despite being a British holiday favourite, was excluded from the list due to its high coronavirus case rate at the time.


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The country has seen a particular spike in cases in its capital of Lisbon.

But according to The Times, it is understood that Portugal could be added to England’s quarantine exemption list.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is expected to announce a second review of the “air bridge” list on July 27.

He is expected to announce if anymore destinations will be added to the countries which are currently on the list.

Mr Shapps said the Government would be making “more announcements” on international travel.

He told Sky News: “I will be talking more about the way forward on things like international travel corridors then.

“But now, each week actually, we are reviewing and, where required, updating the list of countries it’s safe to travel to.”

It is understood that the Department for Transport has also been considering a regional air bridge plan rather than an international one.

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This would mean that travellers from England could visit certain regions of Portugal that are considered to have a lower risk of coronavirus.

Travellers could then visit those regions and not face quarantine rules on their return to England.

Britons could then travel to the Algarve – a very popular destination with Britons – but avoid Lisbon’s coronavirus spike.

Portugal’s cases have now reduced to 127 each day.

The Algarve has had very few cases, which means it could make it onto a regional “air bridge” list.

From July 4, Madeira and the Azores have been exempt from the Foreign Office (FCO) advice against all non-essential international travel.

But travellers are still required to self-isolate on their return to the UK from Portugal which includes Madeira and the Azores.

“If travelling to Madeira, Porto Santo or the Azores, you must take a COVID-19 test before you travel or on arrival,” the FCO website says.

The government is also looking at possibly testing passenger for coronavirus before or on arrival into England.

This would mean that travel to countries like the US could be considered.

Gloria Guevara, chief executive of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) told the Daily Telegraph: “We need to see only regional border measures so that the recovery of a country’s whole economy is not jeopardised in future.”

The US has had over 4.1 million cases and more 146,000 deaths.

Portugal has had only 49,150 cases.

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