Tourism-reliant Portugal to quarantine unvaccinated Britons
The new rule, in place until at least 11 July, follows a surge in cases in Portugal to levels last seen in February, when it was under a strict lockdown. Positive cases have also risen in Britain but its vaccination roll-out has been faster.
Britons arriving by air, land or sea must show proof they are fully vaccinated or self-isolate for 14 days at home or at a place indicated by health authorities, the government said in a statement late on Sunday.
A person is considered fully vaccinated 14 days after their second vaccine dose or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Passengers from Britain who have recovered from COVID-19 and received one dose will also be allowed in.
Britain is one of Portugal’s biggest sources of foreign tourists but it removed Portugal from its own quarantine-free travel list earlier this month.
This means British holidaymakers must self-isolate for 10 days when they return home and also take expensive COVID-19 tests.
Lisbon’s move came after Germany declared Portugal a "virus-variant zone" last week and German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged fellow EU leaders to take a firmer line on travel from countries outside the bloc, such as Britain. Read more.
Britain is not on the EU’s "safe" list of non-EU countries from which it will allow non-essential travel, although fully vaccinated vistors may be able to come. At a meeting on Monday, Britain did not feature on the list of potential additions. Brunei may be added later this week.
Portuguese health authorities have blamed the rise in cases on the more contagious Delta variant, first identified in India.
It accounts for over 70% of cases in the Lisbon area and is spreading to other parts of the country, which has the EU’s second highest seven-day rolling average of cases per capita, according to online publication Our World in Data. Read more.
Portugal opened its borders to British tourists in mid-May and let in thousands of English soccer fans for the Champions League final. Read more.