Germany removes Portugal from travel ‘red list’

Germany’s Robert Koch Institute has announced that from tomorrow (Wednesday) it will be lifting its ‘red list’ travel restrictions affecting Portugal, the United Kingdom, India, Russia, Nepal or Northern Ireland.

Instead of classifying these countries as ‘no-go’ destinations (due to their high incidence of Delta variant transmission), they will simply regard them as “areas of high incidence”.

The subtle change means German citizens will once again be able to visit Portugal – as well as the other countries named – without quarantining on their return, as long as they have been fully vaccinated, or can prove they have had the virus and recovered (this latter state involves having had one dose of an approved EU vaccine).

If people haven’t been fully-vaccinated (or complied with stipulations to prove recovery), they will still have to enter a 10-day quarantine, explains Expresso.

In other words, yes, German citizens and residents can in theory visit Portugal (or any other of the destinations) solely on the basis of a negative Covid test, but this will not preclude them from serving quarantine on their return home.

Says Expresso the 10-days quarantine “can be reduced to five in the case of people taking a test with a negative result”.

How this will change the flow of German tourists to Portugal is unclear. Confidence was badly rocked last month when German holidaymakers were literally given a weekend to decide whether to return home, or face 14-days quarantine if they continued with their holidays (click here)

Brussels criticised Germany’s unilateral decision, hence part of the reason for this ‘about turn’. The other relevant issue is that the Delta variant is already in community transmission within Germany.

Certainly in the Algarve the news has been met with lukewarm enthusiasm.

“It’s good news but we have to remember that the (red-listing) announcement made on June 25 had a very strong impact”, Algarve tourism association president João Fernandes recalls. At the time there were “around 11,000 flights between Germany and Portugal” and “most of these had to be cancelled”.

German holidaymakers may well return, but there is unlikely to a be “a boom”, he stressed, particularly as the bottom line is that countries with high levels of incidence are still not ‘ideal’ touristic destinations.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com