Portugal excluded from the UK “air bridge” list

in News · 03-07-2020 16:22:00 · 25 Comments

Portugal has been excluded from the “international air bridge” list from the United Kingdom, preventing the country from receiving tourists from the UK without the need for quarantine measures when they return home.

Several outbreaks in recent weeks have been identified in Portugal which has led the country to not appear on the list of 59 countries which are deemed suitable for an “air bridge”, although this list does include Spain, Germany, Greece, Italy, Macau and Jamaica.

"This list could be increased in the coming days, after further discussions between the UK and international partners," said the British Ministry of Transport in a statement published on its official website.

The “air bridge” system will go into effect next Friday, July 10th, and will prevent those arriving in the stated countries from having to stay in isolation for 14 days, as is currently the case with all people arriving in England from abroad, or risking a fine of £1,000 (€1,100).

The list of countries was drawn up after a “risk assessment” by the Joint Biosecurity Center, together with the general health directorate of England [Pubic Health England] and took into account factors such as the prevalence of coronavirus, the number of new cases and the potential trajectory of the disease.

The announcement made today applies only to England because Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have autonomy over health matters and it is up to the respective governments to determine the measures they intend to introduce.

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon, and Welsh first minister, Mark Drakeford, described the way in which the process was managed today as "chaotic", but British Transport Minister Grant Shapps expressed hope that the system would be resolved across the UK in the coming days.

The lifting of the measure has been the subject of speculation and pressure from the tourism and transport sectors, which were strongly affected by travel restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has led airlines to drastically reduce services since mid-March.

The United Kingdom is the main outbound market for tourists to Portugal, having accounted for 19.2 percent of overnight stays from foreigners in 2019 and has been recording successive growth since 2013, only interrupted in 2018, according to data from INE.

The preferred destinations for British guests were the Algarve (63.4 percent of overnight stays on the market), Madeira (18.5 percent) and the Lisbon Metropolitan Area (10.8 percent).

The Covid-19 pandemic has already claimed more than 517,000 deaths and infected more than 10.76 million people in 196 countries and territories, according to a report by the French agency AFP.

The UK recorded 43,995 deaths until Thursday (out of 283,757 cases of infection) during the Covid-19 pandemic, the highest number in Europe and the third largest in the world, behind the USA and Brazil.

Portugal accounts for at least 1,587 deaths associated with Covid-19 and 42,782 confirmed cases of infection, according to the latest bulletin from the Directorate-General for Health (DGS).


The reason that uk requires quarantine on return from portugal is that at the time of decision statistics showed a rising trend. There is no basis to infer vindictivness or betrayal . Public health england are not fools or ignorant.
I have every sympathy with those who depend on british tourism but it is no use quoting selective or disproportionate statistics.
Clearly it is possible to travel via seville or to ignore quarantine on return but what story are you going to tell when something goes wrong and you want help from the nhs.

Clearly it is possible to travel via seville or to ignore

By Edward from Algarve on 08-07-2020 05:39

It is senseless not allowing Portugal to be included in air bridge when Spain is included.

By Dallas from UK on 07-07-2020 05:12

Amazing ...I didn't realize Portugal and UK have such old friendship since 1374 !! I mean old and gone friendship!! Gutted isn't there one single day news keep posty Spain Safe hotels,resorts and towns !! Really ?? I haven't to words to describe this rubbish decisions made last Friday..

By joe santos from UK on 07-07-2020 01:50

It's complicated to explain when we se the news daily some countries UK given green corridor and some of it getting worst and worst...after 22 years of being living in UK never saw UK turned up so drastically since Brexit ,..it's all about the Europe favourites..that's all...we could called political and business descrimination fairs..UK might not given air bridge to Portugal but will be deeply scars for the future ,I believe I'll be a pay back when they will need help in the future...I'm not that fussy ,I'm a person who thinks correctly in black in white regarding this unfair attitudes ..this particular section might not be published ,just let the readers know today another town being in lockdown in Spain , few town with thousands infected !! Still no concerns or decisions made by UK government..why ?? Special sun favourites ?? Totally unfair in compare to others haven't being included.. obviously this a decision already made last Friday and it's to late to change it ..is it late to change ? Is it late given British and no British travels give it a hope?

By joe santos from UK on 07-07-2020 01:35

I’m in the Algarve now it’s quiet and safe stop the quarantine period now please there is no need. The Portuguese people need tourism ????

By Ian from Algarve on 07-07-2020 01:24

I am devaststed that Portugsl was lift off the airbridge list. I was due to make my first visit on 3rd August with my two foster sons. One is due to turn 13 while we are away and we booked to swim with dolphins

The decision makes no sense, Portugal is far safer than here, the Algarve is far safer than Lisbon. I hope the UK government wake up and make the right decision.

By Kathrin Sweeney from UK on 07-07-2020 07:58

I’m absolutely disgusted with the uk decision of leaving Portugal out !!!!! I will still go to Portugal in July ! I miss my family and friends ! Portugal is safe to visit . It’s all about politics !!!! Absolutely disgraceful

By Maria from UK on 06-07-2020 11:35

when they review the air bridges again?? are there is any consideration to put the Algarve- Portugal on the list ??

By natalia struz from UK on 06-07-2020 10:23

Aren't the Azores and Madeira islands part of Portugal? Not a single word on this article about these two regions being part of the air bridge. Bad journalism and misleading title and sub-titles.

By Paulo Costa from Açores on 05-07-2020 09:45

I cannot see any logical reason for this decision and i am bitterly disappointed in the British government.
I for one will still be visiting Portugal regardless of this as long as Portuguese authorities will have me.

By Amanda Tomlin from UK on 05-07-2020 07:58

@Paula, please tell me more about the distinctions between Brits and the rest of Europe. I’m a Brit myself and been living in California for 40 years.

By Richard from USA on 04-07-2020 06:16

When is the new list coming up? Is there any chance for Portugal?

By Jesus from UK on 04-07-2020 06:10

This decision by the UK government is indeed 'a sad mistake'. Portugal has done so well in combating this virus and has continued to be vigilant, and honest with it's figures. Just look at the virus statistics between the UK and Portugal . I hope the UK change their minds in the next few days. Portugal does not deserve to be singled out like this. Its disrespectful on the part of the UK government.

By Christopher Bradfield from UK on 04-07-2020 02:13

My wife and myself will still come to the Algarve on Wednesday 8 July. It's
disgraceful how the UK has treated it's oldest ally Portugal. Thank god that
the Portuguese nurse that helped save Boris Johnson's life was not in quarantine!
The government in Portugal have handled the virus much better than their
counterparts in the UK. If the worse comes to the worse maybe Ryanair will take
us home from Seville.

By Barry Bernstein from UK on 04-07-2020 09:00

Will be our 14th year to visit this year x 3 times per year!!
Lovely friendly people.

By andy from UK on 04-07-2020 08:58

It's not that you can't travel to Portugal...you can. The issue is whether you are in a position to quarantine when you get back to England. And how they plan on enforcing that?...who knows...

By William from Other on 03-07-2020 11:45

As home owner on the Algarve I am deeply upset by U.K. decision, absolutely ridiculous. I now have to cancel my trip next Saturday as the situation means we can not get travel insurance . I feel saddened for the business people of the Algarve who have made so much effort to make it safe to travel. I hope U.K. see sense soon and I can once again enjoy your beautiful country. Julie Channel Islands.

By Julie Gavin from Other on 03-07-2020 10:52

In Portugal, cases of Covid 19 have been increasing slowly and steadily since end of April. Per 100,000 population, Portugal has 3 times as many daily new cases as UK. How could there possibly be an airbridge at the moment ? It's nothing to do with allies. It's about keepin UK safe!

By Sharon from UK on 03-07-2020 09:53

I've just finished an email to my Conservative MP asking him to seek an explanation from the DoT for this decision. Hopefully it will be overturned before he has time to reply

By Steve Ward from UK on 03-07-2020 07:08

How long before some of our enterprising airport transfer companies offer to take you to Seville for your return flight. It's only two hours away, motorway all the way

By Frederico from Algarve on 03-07-2020 06:55

Compare the results and performance of the UK versus Portugal regarding the Covid-19 management. Now try to explain rationally the UK decision?

By Tony Fernandes from Other on 03-07-2020 06:33

Gutted that Portugal has been excluded from the list of countries we can travel to. The Portuguese have worked so hard at preparing for overseas visitors and, we are told by ex pats and Portuguese friends, have everything in place to manage our safety. It seems they have been singled out! Our oldest allies. It’s a bitter pill to swallow !

By Debbie from UK on 03-07-2020 06:32

Aftrr my first visit, as an adult, I'm very dissapointed with the UK Gov not allowing the airbridge with Portugal. Our oldest European allies. Hopefully next year things will be different. My heart is with the Portuguese people. See you again soon.

By Tom Ayres from UK on 03-07-2020 05:54

This is sad news. I had booked to go to Portugal in just under 3 weeks, not to Lisbon. Portugal's Covid-19 is much lower than the UK. It's going to be very expensive to go to any of the allowed countries now, and also more crowded.

I hope the UK do include Portugal as a safe destination

By Martin from UK on 03-07-2020 05:43

Portugal probably dodged a bullet here. Brits are a totally different clientele than other Europeans. Spain, have at it! Greece was smartest.

By Paula from Algarve on 03-07-2020 05:36
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