Travellers returning to the UK from Portugal, Hungary, French Polynesia and Reunion will now have to enter quarantine.
Grant Shapps said that as from 4 am on Saturday, September 12, passengers returning to the UK from Portugal, Hungary, French Polynesia and Reunion will have to self-isolate for a period of 14 days. Two exceptions are the Azores and Madeira, autonomous regions in Portugal- they will not have to quarantine under the government’s new island rules.
He added: ‘All travellers returning to the UK must complete a Passenger Locator Form by law. This is vital in protecting public health and ensuring those who need to are complying with self-isolation rules.” The reimposition of restrictions on Portugal comes just weeks after it was put onto Downing Street’s safe list after the country reported a drop in coronavirus infections.
Sweden has now been added to the ‘safe list’ for Wales, England and Scotland. Portugal was given an exemption from UK quarantine rules as recently as 22 August. The country now has 28.3 infections per 100,000 people, which is above the threshold of 20 per 100,000 people the UK uses for adding countries to the quarantine list.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that because of “enhanced data” the government was able to assess the infection rates of islands separate to their mainland countries. Shapps also emphasized that travellers must fill out the Passenger Locator Form on arrival to the UK. “This is vital in protecting public health and ensuring those who need to are complying with self-isolation rules,” he posted on Twitter. “It is a criminal offence not to complete the form and spot checks will be taking place.”
The changes mean that UK holidaymakers face a scramble to return home before the new restrictions come into force. Thousands of Brit holidaymakers are believed to be still in Portugal and any available flights out of the country before Saturday are being snapped up. As flight availability becomes scarce, then the price sky-rockets as seen before in France and Croatia.