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Foreign Affairs Minister attacks British decision to keep Portugal on travel ‘black list’

88foreign affairsThe Minister of State and Foreign Affairs expressed frustration today at the decision of English authorities to keep Portugal on its list of countries whose passengers are required to be quarantined on return to the United Kingdom, thus delivering a second blow against Portugal’s tourism hopes.

Augusto Santos Silva answered questions from journalists today in parliament following a debate on the State of the Nation. “The Government, of course, is saddened by the decision, which is not based on facts and data, that are known and public and will wait for the British authorities to evolve,” he said.

The head of Portuguese diplomacy said that he had fulfilled the agreement with his British counterpart, namely regarding five criteria in which the Portuguese epidemiological situation is “very positive”: testing capacity, lethality rate, reproduction rate, system response capacity of health, and number of cases per 100 thousand inhabitants.

“The British authorities were kind enough to inform us yesterday [Thursday] of the decision, but were unable to explain the scientific and technical fundamentals of the decision made,” he said.

Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and the islands of St. Vincent in the Caribbean were added to England’s safe travel list today by the British Ministry of Transport, following an assessment of the risk of infection with Covid-19.

As of July 28, people traveling from these countries to England will not need to comply with the required 14-day quarantine, the rest of the UK’s nations (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) then apply the British government’s verdict by their own choice.

On Thursday, The Times had reported that London would yield to the Portuguese government’s “powerful pressure” and lobbyists, while the Daily Telegraph put forward the possibility of a partial lifting of restrictions for certain Portuguese regions least affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.