New rules have dictated that people arriving in Scotland and Wales from Portugal must self-isolate for 14 days. The UK government added Portugal to the travel corridor list only a few weeks ago after the country’s coronavirus cases dropped. There were concerns that the country would be added back to the England’s quarantine list after its case rate spiked.
However, this was not the case, with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeting on Thursday: “We continue to keep the Travel Corridor list under constant review & won’t hesitate to remove countries if needed.
“However, there are no English additions or removals today.
“Nonetheless, holidaymakers are reminded – 14-day quarantine countries can & do change at very short notice.”
He added: “Travel Corridor factors taken into account by JBC & Ministers inc: COVID-19 prevalence; level & rate of change; extent of in-country tests, regime & test positivity; extent of contained outbreak as opposed to general transmission; govt actions & other epidemiological information.” [sic]
Despite Portugal continuing to be a popular holiday destination with Britons, the government’s move keeping the country on the travel corridor list has sparked anger among some holidaymakers.
One holidaymaker, spent £900 changing her family’s flights home from the Algarve to try and avoid the quarantine rules.
She accused the government of “moving the goalposts left, right and centre” after the country remained on the safe list.
The holidaymaker paid almost £1,000 to move her flights home from Faro from Saturday to Friday in anticipation that the quarantine measures would be reintroduced.
She also wanted to make sure her three children would not miss out on two weeks of school.
However, she was left out of pocket when the government announced that it would not be making any changes to England’s travel corridor list.
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She told PA: “It’s cost us a lot more money and it’s money we didn’t need to spend now.
“We’ve lost an extra night in our villa – we won’t get that back – we’ve got a hire car, so we’re taking that back a day early. It’s the knock-on effects as well.”
Others have also been left frustrated by the government’s decision, taking to Twitter to express their anger.
One user tweeted that they cancelled their holiday completely, saying, “booked the flights to Portugal, cancel the flights to Portugal, booked a holiday in Hastings & ended up no quarantine #hatemylife.” [sic]
Another complained that flight costs had significantly risen due to the looming quarantine decision.
They said: “Flights back from Faro rocketed in price when it was rumoured Portugal was coming off the safe list and people were scrambling to get home quickly.
“I saw a £300 fare back to Belfast which had been £50 a week or so before. Disgraceful.”
Another user tweeted an airline directly saying, “You are profiteering from Covid.
“Thursday we were worried about the airbridge closing to the UK from Portugal.
“We decided to fly from Faro to Dublin The cheapest route £798 it took you an hour to tell us the price had gone up by £200 we paid.
“The flight was 1/3 full.”
Countries at risk of being removed from the travel corridor list are those with an average coronavirus case rate of over 20 per 100,000 people over a seven-day period.
CEO of travel consultancy, The PC Agency, Paul Charles has been posting daily updates on his Twitter regarding countries’ coronavirus case rates.
Yesterday he tweeted: “Fri update: The #UK ironically moves into the amber zone, based on its own criteria.
“Countries with strong airport testing – #Germany #Iceland #Italy #Greece – see their case numbers falling and remain green. #Portugal nudges up again.”
Portugal’s case rate is currently 23.1 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day period.
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