Portugal Removed from England’s Red List
Portugal, including Madeira and the Azores, is being removed from England’s COVID travel red list. This means returning British nationals can quarantine for 10 days at their own home rather than in a designated hotel at a cost of £1,750.
Mauritius is also being taken off the list, in a move that could open the way for tourists to go to those two countries after the government allows international travel again.
Portugal’s Algarve region in particular is a popular hotspot destination for British holidaymakers, with about 1.2 million visitors annually in the years before COVID.
After 19 March 2021 at 4 AM, anyone coming from those two countries will be required to self-isolate for ten days on arrival to the UK at home and take COVID-19 tests at home.
The flight and maritime bans from Portugal including Madeira and the Azores are also being removed.
The British government says this comes after “evidence that shows the risk of importing a variant of concern from these destinations has reduced”.
A statement added: “Portugal has put steps in place to mitigate the risk from its links with countries where variants have become a concern, and now has genomic surveillance in place.”
More Countries Added to the List
Under current rules, anyone who is not a British or Irish citizen, or does not have residence rights including long-term visa holders will be refused entry into England.
Ethiopia, Oman, Somalia and Qatar will be added to the travel ban list. The changes increased the number of countries on the red list to 35.
Commercial and private planes travelling to the UK from Oman, Ethiopia and Qatar will also be banned from 19 March, which the government says is “to reduce the risk of importing variants of concern”.
The ban does not affect cargo and freight without passengers.
Any British or Irish nationals, or anyone with the right of residence must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days if they arrive from any of those countries and cannot use the Test to Release scheme.
The government has not said when international travel from the UK will be allowed again, but has said it could be as early as 17 May, depending on a series of factors it is monitoring.
The Global Travel Taskforce will report on 12 April with recommendations that may set the timetable for a return to international travel, but much will depend on what experts perceive as the level of risk from imported cases and variants.
Travel Within the UK
Travel within England is set to begin again on 12 April, when people will be able to stay overnight in self-contained accommodation that does not have any shared spaces.
People living in Wales will be able to stay in accommodation like a holiday cottage from 27 March, so long as they do not cross borders into any of the other nations.
But domestic breaks in Scotland will not return in time for the April bank holiday.
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