Victory for Portugal air bridge campaign

in News · 20-08-2020 17:27:00 · 18 Comments

Portugal is now officially on the air travel corridor list for the UK, meaning that visitors to the country will no longer have to quarantine upon return to the UK.

UK Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Schapps, revealed on Twitter: “Data also shows we can now add Portugal to those countries INCLUDED in Travel Corridors. As with all air bridge countries, please be aware that things can change quickly. Only travel if you are content to unexpectedly 14-day quarantine if required (I speak from experience!)”

While it is hugely positive news for Portugal, the same could not be said as Croatia and Trinidad and Tobago, as expected, have been removed from the green list for the UK.

“Data shows we need to remove Croatia, Austria and Trinidad & Tobago from our list of #coronavirus Travel Corridors to keep infection rates DOWN. If you arrive in the UK after 0400 Saturday from these destinations, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days”, tweeted Schapps

Schapps added: “A range of factors taken into account when JBC & Ministers assess Travel Corridors - including but not limited to: estimated prevalence of COVID-19 in a country; the level and rate of change in the incidence of confirmed positive cases; the extent of testing in a country. The testing regime and test positivity; the extent to which cases can be accounted for by a contained outbreak as opposed to more general transmission in the community; government actions; and other relevant epidemiological information.”

Since July, The Portugal News has been campaigning to open the air bridge between the UK and Portugal, to allow tourists to visit Portugal and the Algarve which has consistently shown a positive handling of Covid-19 within the country.

The Portugal News campaign collected over 31,000 signatures in favour of asking the UK government to change their mind and open the air bridge and also encouraged readers in the UK to directly lobby their local MPs to overturn the decision. The campaign was acknowledged by the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who has also been working to lobby the UK on their decision.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Portugal has been registering a decrease in the number of infections, having recorded 27.8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last two weeks.

Portugal, like Sweden and the United States, has been previously consistently left off the British list of safe destinations, a decision that the Portuguese government questioned because it considered that it was not "based on facts and figures that are public".

The United Kingdom is the main outbound market for tourists to Portugal, having accounted for around 20 percent of the total in 2019 and the effects of the reduced amount of British tourists in the country have been felt severely, especially in the tourism driven region of the Algarve.

The UK has so far recorded 41,403 deaths, the highest number in Europe and the third highest in the world behind the USA and Brazil. Meanwhile, in Portugal, 1,788 of the 54,992 people confirmed to be infected died, according to the most recent bulletin from the Directorate-General for Health.

A statement from the British Embassy in Lisbon sent to The Portugal News gave further details of the travel corridor: “From 0400 hours on 22 August 2020, passengers arriving in the UK from Portugal (including the autonomous regions of Madeira and the Azores) will no longer need to self-isolate, so long as they have not been in, or transited through any other non-exempt countries in the fourteen days preceding their arrival. Passengers arriving in the UK before that deadline will be required to complete the full 14 day self-isolation period.”

They added: “All travellers arriving in the UK, including those from exempt destinations, will still be required to show a complete passenger locator form on arrival into the UK, unless they fall into a small group of exemptions.

UK travel advice restrictions to mainland Portugal have been removed with immediate effect”.

“The British Embassy wishes to thank the Portuguese authorities for their constructive cooperation in recent weeks, including regularly providing updated figures on the evolution of the virus in Portugal,” concluded the statement


Better late than never! Thank you very much!

By Tony Fernandes from Other on 25-08-2020 11:20

If think the change had anything to do with any campaign or petition then you are deluding yourself. Once Portugal's figures, driven by the outbreaks in Lisbon and the north, were under control and looking like they will remain that way, they met the UK's guidelines. This is sub 20 cases in the last 14 days per 100,000 population. Portugal should be closing it's borders with Spain again on the same basis, they've lost control.

By Scott from Algarve on 24-08-2020 05:21

Any comment with unpleasantries, in this case for the UK Government, is not published! Why? PN is not strong enough to stand for fair critic comments? Here is my second attempt (edited)!
"The British authorities continue to manage their air travel corridors with their feet! Now they have added Austria, one of the best Covid-19 performing European countries, to their red flights list! Unbelievable! With regard to Portugal, this relief only serves as a show off to save face at the end of the tourist season. Hopefully, Portugal will not experience, like Spain is, just another pyrrhic victory of the “contraption” government with a devastating impact on the life, health and well being of the Portuguese!"

By Tony Fernandes from Other on 23-08-2020 06:03

I really do hope Portugal doesn't forget about campaigning for your Irish Market, particularly for those of us who supported tourism for the last 25 years! Locked up here for months with no sign of being able to visit without Quarantining on return to Ireland is too sad with all this rain. I'd take my chances but can't take the time off work for quarantine. C'mon Portugal give us a break and get on our green list.

By Bea from Other on 22-08-2020 09:59

British authorities continue to manage their air travel corridors with their feet! Now they have added Austria, one of the best Covid-19 performing countries, to their list of non-green flights! Unbelievable! With regard to Portugal, this relief only serves as a show off to save face at the end of the tourist season. Hopefully, Portugal will not experience, like Spain is, just another Pyrrhic victory of the “contraption” government with a devastating impact on the life, health and well being of the Portuguese!

By Tony Fernandes from Other on 22-08-2020 08:51

Great news- The advice I would give to Brits now going to Portugal is
to be careful at your airport before you go. I have been twice to Faro since
restrictions and the social distancing at Luton airport is a shambles. Try and
hold back when your gate is called. You are still herded into an area like a pig
pen. And don't go near the water fountain next to Pret a manger.The phone
chargers are right next to the fountain . And the surfers are oblivious to the
fact that they should be wearing masks. And nobody at the airport cares.

By Barry Bernstein from UK on 21-08-2020 10:59

On the day the R rate in the UK has risen above 1

This is a disaster waiting to happen.

The Algarve has already been destroyed by mass tourism and overdevelopment of apts and houses that lie empty for most of the year.
It has created soulless towns and villages.
Time to sell up and get out of here

By James from Algarve on 21-08-2020 10:01

"Victory" is a strange term to apply to your headline. Your "Campaign" based on the reactionary view of a disaffected businesses, who subsidise you. It was based on an empirical science with statistics via W.H.O. That is, on peoples health and well being, not wealth and selfish subjectivity.
Perhaps if the ineffectual systems deployed by Portugal Health Councils were marshalled into efficacy, and deploy effective trace systems like in Azores, the economy would have benefited 6/8 weeks ago.
I come to Portugal 3/4 times per year, and have an emotional component in Portugal, yet have accepted that we needed to see how the Covid virus was being managed after sluggish work by politicians in Portugal.
Additionally, business also needs to accept that it needs to up its game in Portugal. It is a bureaucratic and primitivo.

By I. K. White from UK on 21-08-2020 05:47

There’s enough fake news, and all the trouble it causes, already, please don’t get on the fake news bandwagon by implying this had anything to do with any petitions. It has come about by the Portuguese health service getting the numbers and cases down enough that they clear the U.K.’s requirements. Nothing more and nothing less.

By Fred Jones from Algarve on 21-08-2020 05:31

Jordan Gross - if you are a Lisbon resident might it be better to follow the Portuguese news for accurate information? As of today there are 321 in hospitals, 41 of whom in intensive care. 4 more people have died since yesterday. Are they all 'no ones'?!
We are fortunate to live in Portugal where the pandemic has been taken seriously, with all the safety rules still in place. And they should be adhered to.

By Annie from Algarve on 21-08-2020 04:50

Sounds like the economy is working and demand! And of course the economy will take precedence over health.... healthcare is not free, and healthcare workers don't work for free either!

By William from Other on 21-08-2020 02:59

None of the UK or any other government's decisions about this are based on science. We have a casedemic right now. Who cares about cases when no one goes to hospital and no one dies?

By Jordan Gross from Lisbon on 21-08-2020 02:48

Im from Coimbra so i know brits only bring low source of income never full income for Portugal economy cant put all financial hope into visitors...

By Gnmareza from Other on 21-08-2020 01:50

And what do the airlines do, put the price of seats up to a ridiculous amount
daily mail article 21/8/20
Britons dash for Bank Holiday break in Portugal as flight costs rise SIX-FOLD but hotels slash prices in scramble to fill rooms after summer of lost takings now country is back on UK 'green list'

By Alan M from Algarve on 21-08-2020 12:16

Je crains que l'économique ne prenne le dessus sur le sanitaire au Portugal....on le sent à lire les nouvelles.La santé des gens passe au second plan malheureusement!

By Michel Schuermans from Algarve on 21-08-2020 12:14

What about the situation in UK airports before flying to Portugal...are people tested? (don't think so...)
I really hope that this doesn't worse the situation around here......season is almost done...WHY TAKE THIS RISK?!?!?
Let them be there until things are better for their country...and here will be even better then now.
who cares about trends? Is the People that make the difference nowadays....

By Marco from Algarve on 21-08-2020 10:46

I hope and pray this is not going to end badly for Portugal.

By Annie from Algarve on 20-08-2020 07:34

Good news!
...but come on guys credit for this surely rests with the Portuguese contact tracing teams and Health workers rather than any social media campaigns as the UKs decision was based on science and stats e.g. less than 20 per 100,000 over 2 weeks and importantly, with no trends upwards.

By Al from Lisbon on 20-08-2020 06:14
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