The United Kingdom has placed Portugal on its green list enabling virtually restriction-free travel.
The announcement was made by the British transport minister Grant Shapps on Friday that Portugal is officially on the list of countries with almost restriction free travel for UK travellers. The measure will come into force on 17 May.
The country is therefore on the green list that includes another 11 countries and regions including Israel and Gibraltar.
It means that travellers going to these countries will not have to go into quarantine on their return. However, travellers will still have to provide a negative PCR test before their return to the United Kingdom and two days after having returned.
The latest batch of countries on the green list are: Portugal, Gibraltar, Faroe Islands, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, the Falkland Islands, Iceland, Israel, St. Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Islands, the Islands of South Georgia and South Sandwich.
When the news was broken, Augusto Santos Silva said that this inclusion is “recognition for the efforts made by the Portuguese.”
However, Portugal and Gibraltar were the exceptions in Europe, with the majority of other countries, including Spain, France and Greece still on the amber list and subject to stricter restrictions.
Travelling overseas had been prohibited except for exceptional reasons, such as business, since January with fines of £5,000 (€5,800).
Shapps said that British citizens and United Kingdom residents can use the NHS public health mobile phone app to show a digital vaccination certificate or ask for a certificate in paper.
Shapps said the government was taking its “first but tentative steps towards reopening its borders and that the approach was necessarily cautious.”
“We must make absolutely sure that countries we reconnect with are safe,” he said.
However, an article published in the Daily Telegraph quoted various British airport operators and airlines that accused the British government of “excess caution” and said it was “illogical” to continue demanding the tests on return.
And the World Travel and Tourism Council warned that the UK government was being too cautious and said that not reopening travel to the US was “hugely disappointing” .
For those countries on the traffic light style travel scheme red list, on arrival in the UK travellers will have to sit out 10 days quarantine in a UK government designated hotel and at their own cost, in addition to submitting to two PCR tests on the second and eighth days of quarantine.
As for travellers coming to the UK from countries on the amber list, these will have to stay in isolation for 10 days at home and will have to do the two PCR tests on the second and eighth days of quarantine.