Portugal could be placed back on UK’s quarantine list as virus cases rise

Portugal and Gatwick Airport
Portugal is in danger of going back on the UK’s quarantine list (Picture: Reuters)

Portugal could be added back to the UK’s quarantine list as the nation’s infection rate continues to rise.

The country was taken off the list just over a week ago, causing searches for flights from the UK to soar in the past few days. There were 21.1 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in Portugal in the seven days to August 30.

This is up from 19.4 cases in the seven days to August 29. The government typically triggers quarantine conditions once a country reaches a seven-day rate above 20 virus cases per 100,000.

The travel corridor between the UK and Portugal opened at 4am on August 22, at the same time that travellers arriving from  Croatia, Austria, and Trinidad and Tobago would have to self-isolate.

The country is a popular holiday destination for Brits, with UK tourists making 2,500,000 visits to Portugal in 2019, according to Office for National Statistics.

Google search data showed a significant spike in searches for ‘flights to Portugal’ at around 6pm on August 20, when the government announced the country would be removed from the quarantine list on Saturday.

The nation was only removed from the quarantine list earlier this month (Picture: Reuters)

A number of EasyJet flights from London airports to destinations across Portugal on the weekend of August 22 were already booked up by the Friday.

Jet2 was also among the airlines aiming to capitalise on the rush, adding extra seats to Faro from August 24 from across the UK.

Concern for Portugal’s rising infection rate comes as Italy also saw the number of coronavirus cases double from seven to 13 per 100,000 people in just one week.

Those travelling to Italy from the UK do not currently have to quarantine on their return.

FILE PHOTO: Travellers pass a sign for Gatwick Airport in southern Britain, December 17, 2015. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo/File Photo
Countries must have a seven-day rate below 20 virus cases per 100,000 people for the government to allow a travel corridor (Picture: Reuters)

Analysis by Post Office Travel Money recently revealed that the cost of visiting a number of European cities had dramatically fallen amid the pandemic, with food and drink, transport, sightseeing and accommodation all cheaper in 22 out of 24 locations.

Italian cities were among some of the area with the largest reductions, with Rome said to be 20% cheaper and Verona and Milan both 18%.

A key factor in the price falls was the lack of demand for hotel rooms and accommodation, with the average costs reducing by more than a fifth across a dozen cities, including Rome.

Portugal’s Lisbon and Porto took fourth and fifth place respectively in the list of the top 10 cheapest spots.

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