Health secretary Matt Hancock has said a decision on Portugal’s quarantine status is likely to be announced on Friday (4 September).
Portugal was added to the UK’s quarantine-free travel corridor list on 22 August following a steady and persistent decline in the country’s rate of coronavirus infection.
Several operators, including Jet2holidays, Tui and Riviera Travel, quickly added additional Portugal capacity, or pledged to restart operations in the country.
However, Portugal is now facing the very real prospect of being removed from the UK’s travel corridor after just a fortnight, with Covid cases having risen to around 22 per 100,000 people over seven days – above the UK government’s 20 per 100,000 over seven days threshold.
A decision on Friday, though, would deviate from previous quarantine updates, typically delivered by transport secretary Grant Shapps in a tweet shortly before 5pm on Thursdays.
Indeed, Shapps announced the government’s intention to add Portugal to the list in this way on Thursday 20 August, ahead of the change coming into effect on 4am on Saturday 22 August.
Hancock told Sky News: "We’re going to publish a further decision tomorrow [Friday] having looked at the data."
He declined to elaborate, despite pressure from presenter Kay Burley, who urged the health secretary to give holidaymakers due to travel to Portugal imminently some reassurance.
"I’m not going to prejudice that [decision]," said Hancock.