Portugal has been removed from United Kingdom’s green list, following the first review of the government’s traffic light system.
Portugal now on the Amber list
Portugal will now be on the United Kingdom government’s Amber list. The change takes effect from 04:00 on 8th June 2021.
The Department of Transport said that the European country, including the islands of Madeira and the Azores – have been added to the amber list, following ‘increased concern in the spread of variants of coronavirus, including a mutation of the Delta variant, and the risk that is posed of bringing these back to the UK if people are not required to quarantine’. Low cost carrier Ryanair had announced an extra 1,75,000 seats in the United Kingdom-Portugal market after Portugal made it to the green list.
What does this mean?
If you have been in an Amber country or territory in the 10 days before you arrive in England, then you must:
- take a COVID-19 test
- book and pay for day 2 and day 8 COVID-19 travel tests – to be taken after arrival in England
- complete a passenger locator form
After you arrive in England, you must:
- quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days
- take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8
You may be able to end quarantine early if you pay for a private COVID-19 test through the Test to Release scheme. Children aged 4 and under do not need to take the day 2 or day 8 test.
No new countries added on the green list
While Portugal is removed from the green list, no new countries have been added to it. Additionally, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Trinidad and Tobago have been added to the highest ‘Red list’.
Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, England, said:
The public has always known travel will be different this year and we must continue to take a cautious approach to reopening international travel in a way that protects public health and the vaccine rollout. While we are making great progress in the UK with the vaccine rollout, we continue to say that the public should not travel to destinations outside the green list.
Last month, a total of 12 countries were added to the UK government’s green list of destinations deemed as being safe for travellers to return to England from without having to quarantine.
It had been hoped that the list might be widened to include other destinations. But as you now know, it is the other way around.
Commenting on the news, Karen Dee, CEO, Airport Operators Association, said:
The removal of Portugal from the green list and no new green countries is another huge blow for people looking forward to seeing family, taking a holiday abroad or travelling for business. Given the success of the UK vaccine rollout, the continuing overly cautious approach to travel will disappoint and puzzle many. Summer 2021 is shaping up to be worse than last summer, which was the worst in aviation history. Analysis by IATA has shown that 860,000 jobs of the 1.6m UK jobs in aviation, travel and tourism were lost or sustained only due to government furlough schemes since the pandemic started. The UK and devolved governments must now decide: either let the UK have a vaccine dividend, as the EU and US plan to do, and reopen travel in a meaningful way at the next review point on June 28, or give the aviation and tourism industry substantial sector-specific support to help us protect jobs and weather another disastrous summer as a result of a continued overly cautious approach.
Clive Wratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association, said:
Today’s announcement has effectively closed UK borders. It is a devastating day for the travel industry as a whole. Removing Portugal from the Green list will destroy any confidence in international travel, whether for work or leisure. It is imperative now that the Government extends the furlough scheme for our sector. We are being prevented from operating on any scale whatsoever and need targeted support if we are to survive.
Meanwhile, Honourable Dr.Clarice Modeste Curwen, Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Climate Resilience and the Environment for Grenada, commented:
We are extremely disappointed that Grenada was not added to the UK’s green list. It’s a huge blow for both holidaymakers and the travel and tourism sector. Grenada has had just 161 cases of Covid-19 since the onset of the pandemic and we have reported zero new cases locally since February. We’re proud to have successfully started rebuilding our tourism sector and welcoming back travellers from overseas while continuing to sustain no new cases of the virus, with 65 per cent of visitors already vaccinated prior to arrival. We have spared no resources and implemented a stringent, rigorous and successful programme to control any spread of the virus, including the implementation and enforcement of non-pharmacological protocols and vaccinating 90 per cent of hotel workers in the tourism sector. In line with the UK government requirement, we also carry out regular genomic sequencing to check for variants. We strongly believe that Grenada should be added to the UK’s green list as we have taken all the necessary measures to ensure the islands are safe and ready for visitors.
What do you think about the UK’s decision to move Portugal to the Amber list? Let me know in the comments section below.