Five countries added to UK’s quarantine-exempt list – but Portugal isn’t one of them

‘The economic impact of the UK’s decision to keep Portugal under quarantine is immense,’ says Portuguese ambassador

Helen Coffey
Friday 24 July 2020 16:18 BST
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Five new countries have been added to England’s list of quarantine-exempt destinations, from where travellers no longer have to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival, starting from 28 July..

Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Estonia and St Vincent and the Grenadines have now brought the total number of exempt countries up to 63, in addition to the common travel area of Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, plus the 14 British overseas territories.

Serbia, which was originally included, has been removed from the list.

Although there was much speculation that Portugal would be among the new additions, the popular holiday spot once again failed to make the cut.

“The economic impact of the UK’s decision to keep Portugal under quarantine is immense and there are fears it could be lasting if not scrapped at the next review on the 27 July,” the Portuguese ambassador, Mr Manuel Lobo Antunes, told The Telegraph.

Meanwhile Spain, which has seen a flare-up in Covid-19 infections, has kept its place on the Department for Transport’s (DfT) “low-risk” list of designated travel corridors.

Spain’s deputy emergency health director Maria Jose Sierra said: “We have important outbreaks.

“It could be a second wave. We’ll have to see what happens in the next few weeks.”

A new proposal would allow the DfT to review and update the list on a more rolling basis going forward, rather than doing a review every three weeks, in response to future virus spikes.

The DfT said in a statement: “Government will update GOV.UK with any changes on a weekly basis (should any be required) to reflect the shifting international health picture. We are prepared to respond rapidly if the health situation of a country deteriorates.”

Regional travel corridors, allowing travellers to visit “low risk” regions such as the Algarve in Portugal without having to self-isolate upon their return, are also being considered, it has been reported.

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