Coronavirus National & International

‘Chaos’ if Portugal goes back on the quarantine list

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According to BBC News, holidaymakers will face “chaos and hardship” if quarantine measures are reintroduced for those arriving in the UK from Portugal, a travel industry leader has warned.

There were 21.1 cases per 100,000 people in Portugal in the seven days preceding the 30th August, up from 19.4 in the seven days preceding the 29th August.

Less than two weeks ago, Portugal was added to the list of countries exempt from UK rules requiring travellers to quarantine which prompted a rise in internet searches for last-minute flights to the famed sun trap by British holidaymakers.

But now the UK government is likely to be considering imposing quarantine rules again as case numbers in Portugal continue to rise.

The boss of British Airways’ parent firm said the numbers were “arbitrary”.

Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive, said the “ever-changing” quarantine requirements meant “the UK has officially hung up the ‘closed’ sign”.

He added: “Another U-turn by the government, adding Portugal to the quarantine list, will cause further chaos and hardship for travellers”

“The government is using arbitrary statistics to effectively ban 160 countries and in the process destroying the economy.”

Ministers have said this cautious approach prevents coronavirus cases being imported.

Neil Millington, who is on holiday in Madeira with his girlfriend Vitalija Mockeviciute, believes that it would be ridiculous to put the Portuguese island on the quarantine list, let alone the whole country.

“There are an awful lot of English people here,” said the 51-year-old, who works in the hotel industry.

“There will be a mad stampede to get a flight back.”

Last week, Switzerland, Jamaica and the Czech Republic joined the UK’s quarantine list.

UK tourists have spent thousands of pounds on new flights and ferries, and endured long drives in a race to get home before the quarantine measures kick in.

The government has not commented on whether requirements for arrivals from Portugal will change again.

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