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