During the UK’s tough lockdowns, travelers on the British Isles kept a close watch on their calendars for May 17th, after which they would be able to travel once more. However, a disappointing start to the UK’s easing of its travel restrictions underwhelmed many – and that disappointment has turned to anger.
The UK has revised its “green list” this week, moving Portugal from green to amber and outraging both travelers and those in the travel industry alike in the process. Here’s a look at that change, the reaction to the decision and an update on the situation regarding the UK’s traffic light travel system.
Portugal Moved To Amber – Information For Travelers
After the likes of France and Spain – two of the most popular destinations for British travelers – were placed on the amber list, British travelers took comfort in the fact that Portugal was put on the green list. Whilst not being quite as popular as France and Spain with British travelers, it was still a tourist hotspot, reachable by a short flight where tourists can count on good weather and a change of scenery.
However, such comfort and changed to anger in the wake of the UK’s decision to move Portugal from green to amber following the worsening of the Covid-19 in the country. The move will officially take place from 4am GMT on June 8th. According to British transport secretary Grant Shapps, the change in classification occurred due to the positivity rate in the country almost doubling and the presence of the virus mutation now known as “Delta”. As of June 2nd, Portugal was reporting 5.4 new cases per 100,000 people per day, compared to the UK’s 5.2.
The travel industry has reacted strongly to the news. British Airways labelled the decision as “incredibly disappointing and confusing news, not just for aviation but also for our customers,” adding that “the UK has reached a critical point and urgently needs travel with low-risk countries, like the US, to re-start the economy, support devastated industries and reunite loved ones.” Easyjet’s chief executive Johan Lundgren also criticized the British government, claiming that it had “torn up its own rule book and ignored the science.”
The same level of shock and anger has also spread to travelers, who will now have to self-isolate at home for 10 days once they return from their trip. Those who visit green list countries do not have to isolate at all upon their return, whilst those who visit red list countries must stay in one of the UK’s mandatory hotel quarantine facility at great expense.
Portugal’s removal from the green list means that there are now only three European countries on the green list – Gibraltar, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Other countries on the green list are Australia, Brunei, Falkland Islands, Israel, New Zealand, Singapore, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.
There are also changes scheduled for the red list, with seven new countries set to join from June 8th. Those countries are Afghanistan, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Trinidad and Tobago. Travelers who have visited these countries will now need to pay £1,750 per travelers for a 10-day stay in one of the UK government’s hotel quarantine facilities.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories