Portugal’s battle for UK air-bridge ‘close to being won’

Portugal’s battle to get an ‘air bridge’ with UK – saving British holidaymakers from spending 14 days in quarantine when they return home – seems close to being won.

Explain reports today, it’s simply a question of Portugal “presenting its virus data exactly according to British parameters and indicators”.

Says Observador, minister of foreign affairs Augusto Santos Silva still believes there is no reason to dissuade British holidaymakers from coming to Portugal because of any heightened risk of catching Covid-19.

But the government has finally received the British ‘justification’ for maintaining Portugal’s ‘safe-travel’ blacklisting: British authorities are following data compiled by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, and that data suggests we still have a 14-day cumulative number of citizens testing positive that is ‘unacceptable’ (ie over 25 per 100,000. Portugal’s ‘score’ is 26.3).

Thus the way ahead now is for Portugal to ‘alter’ the way it presents its data and ‘hey presto’ this should be enough to finally win the so-called air-bridge.

Said Santos Silva, authorities are preparing “to present information on the evolution of the epidemiological situation exactly according to the parameters and indicators that the United Kingdom has told us it is using”.

He added that he hopes the next ‘revision’ of British travel advice “will finally signify recognition of the facts, because, in my opinion, there is not one fact in Portugal that justifies that passengers from Portugal should be subjected to quarantine in Britain”.

Indeed, the fact that they are has elicited howls of protest from thousands of Brits a number of whom have raised petitions.

The next British ‘revision’ of countries that deemed ‘safe to travel to’ should come at the end of August, says Observador, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Portugal will have to wait that long.

“The alteration could come earlier”, says the online.

Santos Silva however is certainly not overly-optimistic. He stressed yesterday that Britain’s ‘updates’ have been progressively restrictive ‘because they have included in the list of countries subjected to quarantine others than previously weren’t there’.

Nonetheless, the overriding message in national media today is that by presenting data ‘differently’ Portugal will at last be recognised by the British government as the safe travel destination it has been marketing itself as since the start of the summer.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com