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England prepares to lift restrictions on travel to Portugal, claims The Times

87portugal timesEngland is preparing to include Portugal in its list of countries that are safe to travel in the context of a pandemic, thus ending the mandatory 14-day quarantine for all tourists returning from Portugal, claims Brit newspaper The Times.

The Times’ article explains that the Minister of Transport, Grant Shapps, will update the list of 59 countries considered safe by the United Kingdom so far. The newspaper also mentions that this measure follows a Portuguese lobby towards inclusion in this list.

A source at the UK embassy claimed to Portugal’s O Observador paper that they ??could not confirm this news, referring to a formal announcement on a date to be announced. It is certain that this announcement will not be made until July 27, a date previously indicated for the review and possible update of the list of 59 countries at the beginning of the month.

The decision of England (and not the United Kingdom, which in this matter reserves the right of decision to each nation that comprises it) not to include Portugal in the list of safe countries was badly received by the Costa’s Government when it was announced at the beginning of July. At the time, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, admitted “disappointment” with the decision in question.

“It would be just absurd if it had no consequences,” said the minister, warning of the fall in British tourism, which represents the largest share in the number of tourists the country receives.

In 2019, British tourism (and not just English) accounted for 19.2% of overnight stays from foreigners. According to the INE, this has been a steady growth value since 2013, with the exception of 2018. The preferred destinations for British tourists were the Algarve (63.4% of overnight stays in the market), Madeira (18,5%) and the Lisbon Metropolitan Area (10.8%).