Mainland Portugal’s quarantine-free travel corridor with England has been revoked, transport secretary Grant Shapps has confirmed.
In a series of tweets on Thursday (10 September), Shapps added that Madeira and the Azores were not included in this change so visitors to these islands will not have to quarantine for 14 days on their return to England.
Also losing their travel corridor status are Hungary, French Polynesia and Reunion, with the changes due to take effect from 4am on Saturday (12 September).
“Through enhanced data we now have the capability to assess islands separate to their mainland countries. If you arrive in England from the Azores or Madeira, you will not need to self-isolate for 14 days,” said Shapps.
Meanwhile, Sweden has been added to the travel corridor list meaning there will be no need for those returning to England to quarantine from Saturday.
The move to put mainland Portugal back on the quarantine list comes as a major blow for the destination as it was only given travel corridor status just three weeks ago.
“Data shows that there has been a consistent increase in newly reported cases in Portugal over the past three weeks, with an 81% increase in newly reported cases over seven days from 1,464 to 2,652 between 26 August and 9 September,” said the Department for Transport in a statement.
At the same time, the Foreign Office is now advising against all but essential travel to Portugal (excluding the Azores and Madeira), Hungary, French Polynesia and Reunion, and has given an exemption to this advice to Sweden.
The government introduced regional air corridors from England earlier this week when it removed seven Greek islands from the quarantine-free travel list.
An Abta spokesperson said: “Every country, mainland or island that is taken off the government’s travel lists lessens the ability of travel businesses to operate and increases the necessity for the government to provide tailored industry support.
“There are travel agents and tour operators based in every region of the UK that are viable businesses, which are unable to trade because of the measures to control the pandemic, and tens of thousands of livelihoods are at risk until we are able to move beyond widespread travel restrictions.”
Abta and other travel associations, as part of the Save Future Travel Coalition, have written to chancellor Rishi Sunak, setting out a plan including changes to quarantine policy, the introduction of testing and an APD holiday.
“It explains that with the right policy and regulatory support the government can save jobs and ensure the viability of the UK’s travel industry,” added the Abta spokesperson.