Portugal set to go back on UK quarantine list – and Downing Street is also under pressure over Greece coronavirus cases

BRITISH tourists are braced for new travel restrictions as fears that Portugal could be put back onto the UK quarantine list grow.

The country was only removed from the list on August 22 – yet has seen a jump in cases in recent days.

With 58,663 cases, Portugal currently has 22.7 new cases per day, per 100,000 population, as analysed over seven days, compared to just 14.2 last week.

Using the data, released by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) the UK government considers placing countries over 20 onto the quarantine list.

While Greece only has 14.3 cases per 100,000, the country was placed onto the quarantine list by Scotland this week, leading to fears the rest of the UK may follow suit as well.

Wales is enforcing quarantine restrictions for all arrivals from Zante only.

Pressure is mounting on England to consider imposing quarantine rules on travellers arriving from Greece amid reports of people returning with coronavirus.

But the government has refused to comment on whether they would ignore their usual benchmark for quarantine restrictions and follow Scotland.

Any decision over Portugal or Greece will be made by the government today and an announcement will be made either this evening or tomorrow.

 


The UK's biggest tour operator TUI has suspended its holidays to the resort of Laganas on Zante, after two flights of passengers were forced into self-isolation for two weeks.

In Buckinghamshire, two groups of people have tested positive for coronavirus after returning from abroad – including a group of teenagers from the Marlow area who are reported to have been on a trip to Zante.

Tour operator TUI also said it was aware of a "small number" of positive Covid-19 test results following a flight from Heraklion in Crete to London Stansted on August 27, while eight passengers on a Wizz Air flight from Crete tested positive.

The airlines confirmed they were in touch with passengers who were affected.

However, Greek tourism minister Harry Theoharis said of his country's current coronavirus rates: "We're well below [the 20 figure]."

He hit out at the Scottish government for imposing the quarantine restrictions, telling BBC Breakfast: "We have put in place a comprehensive set of protocols and measures, we take targeted measures where we see concentration (of cases). 

"We feel that we are taking every possible precaution, so we feel that this is a bit harsh."


In recent weeks, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced changes to its quarantine exemption list on Thursday nights, with the new rules being imposed on Saturdays at 4am.

The rising cases in Portugal prompted many UK tourists to pay hundreds of pounds to fly home before Saturday as flight tickets soar in price.

Sun Online Travel found tickets from Faro to London as high as £355 if travelling this week.

According to the Mail Online, one-way tickets from Portugal to London were just £20 two weeks ago, before the quarantine rule was lifted.

One-way tickets for the rest of September can be found under £100, and as cheap as £18 towards the end of the month.

Yet travellers have slammed many of the airlines for not enforcing safety guidelines during their flight.

One passenger on the TUI flight from Crete, who had been contacted by NHS Test and Trace and asked to self-isolate, complained that "hardly anyone" on the flight had been wearing a mask.

The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, told the PA news agency: "Our flight was hideous, hardly anyone wore a mask and the crew didn't do anything about it.

"We raised the issue twice with the cabin crew who still didn't enforce it. My family is okay but we are having to self-isolate.

"I'm so sad for my son because he has to miss his first week back at school."

TUI confirmed in a statement that cabin crew and other passengers had multiple warnings about wearing face masks on the flight.

Passenger Stephanie Whitfield, who was on the first TUI flight from Zante to Cardiff where passengers were forced to self-isolate, also claimed that little was done on board to follow coronavirus safety measures.

She told the BBC: "The flight was a debacle. The chap next to me had his mask around his neck. Not only did the airline not pull him up on it, they gave him a free drink when he said he knew a member of the crew.

"Loads of people were taking their masks off and wandering up and down the aisles to talk to others.

"As soon as the flight landed, a load of people took their masks off immediately. The flight was full of selfish 'covidiots' and an inept crew who couldn't care less."

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