Air bridge shock: “Portugal doesn’t make UK green list”

After days in which newspapers in UK have been predicting a British government u-turn over its travel blacklisting of Portugal, three Portuguese media sources have broken the news that it isn’t going to happen.

Rádio Renascença, Correio da Manhã and Diário de Notícias have all run ‘stop press’ news flashes saying the equivalent of “Portugal excluded for second time from travel corridor with UK”.

None of the short texts refer directly to their source, but the stories suggest the newspapers have seen the list that we were all told was only due to be released by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Monday.

Diário de Notícias says that Madeira and Azores HAVE won an air-bridge (both have their own entry demands in place at airports anyway) and that the only countries to be benefitting from the ‘review’ by Britain are Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Caribbean nations of St Vicente and the Grenadines.

Its report is perhaps the most ‘comprehensive’, going over old ground, but it’s still ‘unclear’ whether this story really is ‘the end’ for Portugal in terms of the chance of summertime visitors from UK who are not impelled to return home to 14 days in quarantine.


Now the UK Telegraph has confirmed the news.

“Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, announced on Friday that the Government has rejected Portugal’s bid to be added to a “safe” list of 74 countries and territories exempt from UK quarantine”.

The paper acknowledges that the news “is likely to provoke anger in Portugal which each year welcomes two million Britons to the Algarve, accounting for a fifth of its tourist income”.

Says the report, “after the original travel ban decision, the Portuguese ambassador accused Britain of causing “immense” and potentially “lasting” damage to his country and claimed its decision was based on unclear science”.

With the country’s politicians locked in the State of the Nation debate, there has yet to be an official response to this bombshell, which will jettison the Algarve’s struggling economy into an even deeper hole.

To add insult to injury, Spain has retained its ‘safe travel’ listing, despite having virus spikes and lockdowns in a number of areas, including Catalonia.

Spain continues to see cases rising, and has many more people infected per million inhabitants than Portugal. 

More to follow as reactions start coming in…

Público has run a little clip, featuring Vilamoura bar owner Samuel Tilley saying how ‘unfair’ today’s decision is: click here

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