Portugal has officially been removed from the UK government’s "red list" after more than two months.
Direct travel to and from the country was banned by the government on 15 January owing to Portugal’s "strong travel links" with Brazil where a new Covid-19 "variant of concern" had been identified.
From 15 February, travellers arriving in the UK from Portugal have been required to self-isolate for 10 days in government-appointed hotel quarantine facilities.
However, the Department for Transport (DfT) on Monday (15 March) said it would remove Portugal, and Mauritius, from the red list at 4am on Friday (19 March).
"The risk of importing a variant of concern from these destinations has reduced," said the DfT in a statement, adding: "Portugal has put steps in place to mitigate the risk from its links with countries where variants have become a concern, and now has genomic surveillance in place."
It means the direct flight and maritime ban on Portugal, as well as Madeira and the Azores, has been lifted.
Luis Araujo, president of the Portuguese National Tourism Board, hailed the move. "We congratulate ourselves on the removal of Portugal from the UK’s red list," said Araujo.
"This decision represents a vote of confidence in this new phase the world is going through, in addition to encouraging visits to the destination to stimulate economic activity and comes as a recognition of the road travelled in regards to the effective control of the pandemic.
"It is important to signal that Portugal is committed to welcoming all in a safe and sustainable way. We are ready to give those who choose to visit us the same great experiences with added safety.
"There are more than 22,000 tourism companies with the Clean & Safe seal and more than 85,000 people have been trained in safety, digital and sustainability areas."
On Thursday (18 March), Portugal’s tourism secretary Rita Marques said the country would reopen to UK tourists from 17 May, the earliest possible date set out by the UK government for a resumption of international travel – subject to a review by the Global Travel Taskforce. Its report is due on 12 April.
Marques said Portugal would be open to all prospective visitors regardless of vaccination status, stating the EU’s new digital green pass plans would allow nationals from European third countries, such as the UK, to travel to Portugal on a verified vaccination or immunisation certificate, or a negative pre-departure Covid test.