Portugal is in talks with the UK over a quarantine-free travel corridor between the two countries.
Antonio Costa, Portugal’s prime minister, on Tuesday (7 July) confirmed discussions were ongoing.
Portugal had been expected to be among the first countries British travellers would be able to return to once the UK’s coronavirus lockdown was lifted.
Discussions over an agreement between the two countries date to early June when Portuguese foreign minister Augusto Santos Silva said Brits would be "most welcome" this summer and stressed Portugal was keen to come to a quarantine-free travel arrangement with the UK.
However, Portugal was notable for its absence from the UK’s initial travel corridor announcement on Friday (3 July); the list included 74 countries or territories from which Brits can return without having to self-isolate for a fortnight, including the likes of Spain, France and Italy.
Portugal has been broadly praised for its response to the coronavirus crisis having to date recorded around 44,000 confirmed cases resulting in 1,600 deaths. At the time of the UK’s travel corridor announcement, the country also had a significantly lower number of cases per 100,000 people than the UK.
However, restrictions were recently reintroduced in Lisbon following a fresh spike in infection, and there has also been another localised outbreak in the Algarve, a popular holiday destination for Brits.
The UK government will review its first travel corridor announcement by 27 July.
Addressing the press on Tuesday, Reuters reports Costa said Portugal’s foreign minister had staged "a long conversation" with his UK counterpart on the issue.
"It is important we build a confident relationship," said Costa, adding the country had been in "permanent contact" with the UK over an agreement.
The UK government’s decision to exclude Portugal from its first quarantine-free travel corridor announcement came as a major blow to Portugal after more than two million Brits visited the country last year.
Portugal has rebuild its economy since the 2012 financial crash with a far greater reliance on tourism.