On Thursday, August 20th, the British authorities added Portugal to the “UK’s travel corridor list”, according to The Guardian. Travellers arriving from Portugal into British airports will no longer have to submit to a mandatory 14-day quarantine, so far required to fight the Covid-19 pandemic spread. The measure, which applies to all Portuguese territory, started on Saturday, 22nd, at 4 pm (London and Lisbon share the same timezone).
While announcing the move, the Transport Secretary, Mr Grant Shapps, warned that the situation might be reverted. In a tweet, Shapps issued a warning: “As with all air bridge countries, please be aware that things can change quickly. Only travel if you are content to unexpectedly 14-day quarantine if required (I speak from experience!)”
In fact, three countries were removed from the list of countries exempted of the mandatory quarantine at this same day and reevaluation: Austria, Croatia and Trinidad and Tobago. The two mentioned European countries, and especially Austria, were some time ago deemed as among the most Covid-19 free and safe throughout the continent. The Guardian adds that Greece might also be excluded from the “air bridge” list soon.
Several Portuguese authorities welcomed the decision: the presidents of the Algarvian and National Tourism Boards, the Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros (equivalent to the Foreign Office) and even the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. The head of state underlined that this was good news not only for tourism but also for “the 300,000 Portuguese living in Britain and for the 50,000 British living in Portugal”.
Meanwhile, Portugal continues its downward trend, unlike much of Europe, so it is not expected a reverse of the decision, despite Mr Shapps warning. On Thursday, 20th, Algarve scored 996 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with 17 deceased, in a population of 450,000 inhabitants.