After a week of tension and uncertainty, it has finally been announced for certain that Portugal has been left off the list of safe destinations to travel, just published this afternoon by the United Kingdom.
This is a decision that greatly affects the Algarve, the main holiday destination for the British in Portugal. Following exclusion from this list, British citizens visiting the region will be required to comply with a 14-day quarantine period on their return to the United Kingdom.
The decision was based on criteria such as the number of new cases, and the potential trajectory of the virus spread in coming weeks and months. In this list, despite the exclusion of mainland Portugal, the Azores and Madeira are part of the so-called safe destinations. Countries like Italy, Spain, Germany, Greece, Macau or Jamaica are also included in the list, which totals 59 countries or territories.
Despite this decision, the British Ministry of Transport says in a statement that the “list could be extended in the coming days, after further discussions between the UK and international partners”.
This is a measure that will come into force in a week, on 10 July. In a statement, Grant Shapps, Transport Minister, said that this decision represents “the next step in the careful reopening of our great nation”.
“Whether you are a tourist ready to travel abroad or a company eager to open its doors again, this is good news for the British people and great news for British companies,” he concluded.
João Fernandes, president of ‘Turismo do Algarve’, has also reacted to the exclusion of Portugal from the list published by the UK, considering it “particularly unfair” to the Algarve.
The tourism head announced that “we regret and do not understand some of the facts of this decision, which is particularly unfair for the Algarve, which is the preferred destination for British tourists” in Portugal.
“We were clearly penalized, as a country, for speaking the truth,” added Fernandes. “I ask if it will be safer to travel to countries that test a quarter or half of what Portugal tests”.
“This decision is strange, very penalizing for a region that has 18 thousand British residents, who can perfectly attest to the security they witness every day”.
The official said he was surprised by the decision also because the Algarve, “according to the European Commission, through European Best Destinations, was elected one of the 20 safest regions for holidays in the coming months”.
See https://algarvedailynews.com/travel/18181-travel-corridors-countries-and-territories-exemption-list for the current exemption list.