Portugal has been removed from the green list for arrivals into England, following the first review of the government’s traffic light system.
The Department for Transport said that the country – including the islands of Madeira and the Azores – have been added to the amber list, following “increased concern in the spread of variants of coronavirus, including a mutation of the Delta variant, and the risk that is posed of bringing these back to the UK if people are not required to quarantine”.
The change takes effect from 0400 on Tuesday June 8.
No new countries have been added to the green list, while Afghanistan, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Trinidad and Tobago have been added to the highest “red list”.
“The public has always known travel will be different this year and we must continue to take a cautious approach to reopening international travel in a way that protects public health and the vaccine rollout,” said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
“While we are making great progress in the UK with the vaccine rollout, we continue to say that the public should not travel to destinations outside the green list.”
Last month a total of 12 destinations were added to the UK government’s new green list of destinations deemed as being safe for travellers to return to England from without having to quarantine.
It had been hoped that the list might be widened to include other destinations.
Commenting on the news Airport Operators Association CEO Karen Dee said:
“The removal of Portugal from the green list and no new green countries is another huge blow for people looking forward to seeing family, taking a holiday abroad or travelling for business. Given the success of the UK vaccine rollout, the continuing overly cautious approach to travel will disappoint and puzzle many.
“Summer 2021 is shaping up to be worse than last summer, which was the worst in aviation history. Analysis by IATA has shown that 860,000 jobs of the 1.6m UK jobs in aviation, travel and tourism were lost or sustained only due to government furlough schemes since the pandemic started.
“The UK and devolved governments must now decide: either let the UK have a vaccine dividend, as the EU and US plan to do, and reopen travel in a meaningful way at the next review point on June 28, or give the aviation and tourism industry substantial sector-specific support to help us protect jobs and weather another disastrous summer as a result of a continued overly cautious approach.”
Meanwhile Clive Wratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association, said:
“Today’s announcement has effectively closed UK borders. It is a devastating day for the travel industry as a whole. Removing Portugal from the Green list will destroy any confidence in international travel, whether for work or leisure.
“It is imperative now that the Government extends the furlough scheme for our sector. We are being prevented from operating on any scale whatsoever and need targeted support if we are to survive.”
And the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Climate Resilience and the Environment for Grenada, Hon. Dr.Clarice Modeste Curwen, has released the following comment:
“We are extremely disappointed that Grenada was not added to the UK’s green list. It’s a huge blow for both holidaymakers and the travel and tourism sector. Grenada has had just 161 cases of Covid-19 since the onset of the pandemic and we have reported zero new cases locally since February.
“We’re proud to have successfully started rebuilding our tourism sector and welcoming back travellers from overseas while continuing to sustain no new cases of the virus, with 65 per cent of visitors already vaccinated prior to arrival.
“We have spared no resources and implemented a stringent, rigorous and successful programme to control any spread of the virus, including the implementation and enforcement of non-pharmacological protocols and vaccinating 90 per cent of hotel workers in the tourism sector. In line with the UK government requirement, we also carry out regular genomic sequencing to check for variants.
“We strongly believe that Grenada should be added to the UK’s green list as we have taken all the necessary measures to ensure the islands are safe and ready for visitors.”