The Speaker
Saturday, 18 May 2024 – 11:58

Portugal removed and no further destinations added to UK travel green list

No further countries have been added to the UK’s green travel list and Portugal has been moved to the amber list, the Government has announced.

Meanwhile, it has been announced that seven more countries will be added to the red list from 4am on Tuesday – including Egypt, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Sudan, Trinidad & Tobago.

The news will dash the hopes of many people hoping for a summer getaway overseas, with restrictions on travel due to coronavirus making foreign holidays unfeasible for many.

As COVID-19 remains prevalent around most of the world, the UK is enforcing a traffic-light based system for international travel. People arriving from countries on the ‘green list’ do not have to isolate on their arrival in the UK. All other arrivals do have to isolate – either at home or in a government-approved quarantine hotel, in line with the rules for amber and red list countries.

Portugal, which had been on the green list, has moved onto the amber list, meaning arrivals to the UK from the country will need to self-isolate at home for 10 days and take two post-arrival coronavirus tests.

Government advice states that people should not visit countries on the amber or red list for holidays or other leisure reasons and that any visits to these countries should be ‘essential’.

The removal of Portugal from the green list leaves no major holiday hotspots on the list to which Britons can travel to. The countries that are on the list include Brunei, Iceland, Gibraltar, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Israel, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia.

Portugal’s foreign ministry has criticised the UK Government’s decision to move the country onto the amber list, saying it did not understand the “logic”. 

There had been hopes that some Greek and Spanish islands, which are popular tourist destinations for Britons, may be moved onto the green list, however, such a change has not taken place.

Travel restrictions are currently in place to try and prevent cases of COVID-19 and in particular, new variants of the virus, being imported at the UK border. Cross-border travel can lead to the spread of new, potentially more transmissible variants of coronavirus, as has been seen with the Indian variant that is now dominant in England.

The latest update to the travel lists has been met with dismay by the travel sector, which has been hit particularly badly by the pandemic over the last 14 months. In a statement, Andrew Flintham, Managing Director for holiday company TUI UK said;

“This latest announcement is another step back for our industry. After promises that the Global Travel Taskforce would result in a clear framework, removing the damaging flip flopping we all endured last summer, the Government decision to move Portugal straight from green to amber will do untold damage to customer confidence. We were reassured that a green watch list would be created and a weeks’ notice would be given so travellers wouldn’t have to rush back home. They have failed on this promise.

“Unlike other European countries and despite multiple requests, the government has refused to be transparent about the data requirements for green, amber and red destinations. We must see the methodology so we can help our customers and plan our operations accordingly. There are destinations around the world with little or no covid-19 cases and good vaccination rates, so we need to understand why these remain on the amber list.”


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