Portugal could be added to ‘air bridge’ list at the end of August but it may be ‘too late’

Holidays to Portugal have been famously popular with Britons. The country is known for its stunning holiday hotspots such as the Algarve and the capital city of Lisbon. Despite its popularity with the British public, the country has remained absent from the UK Government’s “air bridge” list.

Portugal recently experienced a sudden spike in coronavirus cases which is why it was excluded from the list.

The region of Lisboa has experienced the most cases with more than 26,000.

In total, Portugal has had 52,668 cases of coronavirus, at the time of writing.

But now, it seems the country could be added to the UK’s “safe” list which allows travellers to return from the country to the UK without facing 14 days in quarantine.

A Whitehall source told The Sun: “Portugal has made a lot of progress but the process for dropping quarantine is far more gradual, where we monitor progress in weeks rather than days.”

However, an industry source suggested that Portugal being added to the “air bridge” list could take longer than expected.

The source said: “It could be that the Joint Biosecurity Centre say they are prepared to remove quarantine, but while that might be announced this week I don’t expect they would lift it until the end of August.

“That gives the Government time to assess that the falling numbers are part of a longer-term trend rather than a blip.

“From a science perspective it makes sense but unfortunately it is likely to come too late for Portugal, which has seen its entire summer season lost.”

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Portugal’s National Tourism Authority recently launched a new insurance package that offers holidaymakers medical and holiday cancellation cover.

Commercial director of insurance company Bónus Seguros which is offering coronavirus travel cover for visitors to the country said he had been inundated with demand from the UK.

Marco Pyta said there had been an “unbelievable” number of inquiries for Portugal travel insurance.

“These last few days have been incredible,” said Mr Pyta.

He continued: “We have had inquiries from Canada and Brazil, but 90 percent have come from England.

It’s as if everyone there wants to come on holiday to Portugal!”

The islands of Madeira and the Azores are exempt from Foreign Office advice against non-essential international travel.

However, anyone returning from Media and the Azores will still have to isolate for 14 days on their return.

Anyone arriving in Portugal will be subject to a health screening.

Those travelling to Madeira, Porto Santo or the Azores must take a coronavirus test before they travel or on arrival.

A whopping 2.5 million British nationals visited Portugal last year.

Last week, changes to the UK’s “air bridge” list were announced.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted that Belgium, Andorra and the Bahamas would be removed from the “safe” list.

Malaysia and Brunei were added to the list.

There are 70 destinations on the list that Britons can travel to.

Only 24 countries on the list don’t have restrictions on Britons.

Visit Portugal has been contacted for comment.

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