Britons blast ANOTHER travel quarantine as they face dash to return home from Portugal

Tens of thousands of British holidaymakers are facing a race to escape Portugal after the country was returned to the quarantine list.

The move will trigger another day of chaos as they rush to get home before the restrictions kick in at 4am tomorrow.

The cost of flights home soared to £600 within minutes of last night’s announcement, and British Airways laid on an extra service from Faro on the Algarve. 

Many of the 35,000 Britons currently in Portugal will have no choice but to carry on with their holidays and self-isolate for 14 days on their return. Some may have to take unpaid sick leave and university students could miss the start of term.

The decision was taken after the number of cases in Portugal over seven days jumped to 28.3 per 100,000 people yesterday, over the Government’s threshold of 20.

The new restrictions do not apply to the Portuguese islands of Madeira and the Azores, where infection rates are lower than on the mainland. 

Portugal and Hungary have today been removed from the quarantine exemption list, meaning holidaymakers must rush home or face a two-week quarantine. Pictured: The Algarve

Those arriving in England from two further countries must also now self-isolate for 14-days from 4am on Saturday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said. Pictured: Budapest

Those arriving in England from two further countries must also now self-isolate for 14-days from 4am on Saturday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said. Pictured: Budapest 

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Isabelle Brett is among the British tourists who have had their holidays disrupted by the addition of Portugal to the quarantine list.

The 20-year-old had only arrived with her family in the Algarve on Monday to stay in a villa.

Now, after scrambling to get last minute flights home before the quarantine comes in to place on Saturday morning, they will be cutting their holiday short by two days and flying back tonight.

Miss Brett, from Little Canfield in Essex, starts a new job next week and would not have been able to quarantine for two weeks on her return.

She said it had been ‘very, very stressful’ trying to get back before the rule takes effect.

‘We were on the beach when we found out about the new regulations for us quarantining,’ she said. ‘Straight away we were on the phone to Jet2. We were on hold for approximately two hours.

‘When we finally got through we were told after looking on the systems that all flights where fully booked from Faro to anywhere in England and there was no way of getting back before having to quarantine.

‘I must admit it was a very, very stressful situation.

‘Eventually Jet2 said they had added another flight to help people who were struggling to get back and they booked us straight onto it for tomorrow at 7pm from Faro to Stansted.’

Miss Brett said the family thought they would be able to go on their week-long holiday to their house in Castro Marim without having to isolate once they returned to Essex.

‘Listening to the Government’s guidelines about how Portugal wasn’t going to go on the quarantine list we thought we would be safe, but we were a little sceptical,’ she said.

‘Even though it took a bit of time to get through to Jet2 it was all worth it as they did an amazing job in getting us home in time.

‘The customer service was absolutely amazing and we are all celebrating with a big bottle of champagne tonight for our last night.

‘Our holiday was cut short by two days but we are just thankful to be getting home.’ 

Meanwhile, Sweden, which did not impose a compulsory lockdown and chose a ‘herd immunity’ approach to tackling coronavirus, was removed from the UK’s quarantine list after its infection rate fell. 

Hungary, French Polynesia and Reunion have also been added to Britain’s ‘red’ list of territories subject to quarantine.

Scotland and Wales had already added Portugal and French Polynesia to their quarantine list, but other changes announced yesterday apply to all four parts of the UK. Industry leaders told of their dismay at the latest decision, which comes three weeks after Portugal was removed from the quarantine list.

Travel consultant Paul Charles said: ‘The weekly review needs to be changed. They need to move the system to a traffic light system so that consumers are clearly-informed about ministers’ intentions and which countries are at risk. It would enable them to book trips with more certainty.’

It came as Home Office figures revealed officials have only managed to fine 34 people for breaching quarantine since the rules were introduced in June – despite the fact that two million people have arrived in the country since then. 

Public Health England said it had made or sent 149,579 calls or text messages to passengers to check they were self-isolating at home. Some 64,800 people had confirmed they were self-isolating.

Portugal has seen a steady rise in cases since it was removed from the quarantine list three weeks ago, now reporting a total of 1,852 deaths amid 62,126 confirmed infections. 

It saw 646 new cases of Covid-19 yesterday, the nation’s highest figure since April.         

Wales and Scotland had already imposed their own self-isolation rules on Portugal, with Nicola Sturgeon also recently mandating 14-day isolation for arrivals from Greece and Wales adding six Greek islands to its list.

Downing Street’s switch-up of the quarantine exemption list comes after Mr Shapps last week insisted there would be no changes to English travel corridors.   

Sources told MailOnline at the time that although Portugal was above the ‘trigger’ threshold for cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day period, that appeared to be because they were carrying out more tests.

‘The rate of positives per test has actually gone down,’ one senior source said.

The Government also announced yesterday that Sweden has been added to the ‘safe’ travel list.

The new air bridge will come into force at 4am on September 12 after the Scandinavian nation saw a drop in cases – despite not enforcing a lockdown. 

Stockholm’s strategy of ‘herd immunity’ – once backed by Downing Street – to allow the disease to spread through the population, was criticised as reckless but new data increasingly vindicates the decision. 

Britons blast ANOTHER travel quarantine as they face dash to return home from Portugal 1

Britons blast ANOTHER travel quarantine as they face dash to return home from Portugal 3

Britons blast ANOTHER travel quarantine as they face dash to return home from Portugal 5

Portugal has seen a steady rise in cases since it was removed from the quarantine list on August 22, now reporting a total of 1,852 deaths amid 62,126 confirmed infections. Pictured: Arrivals at Heathrow

Portugal has seen a steady rise in cases since it was removed from the quarantine list on August 22, now reporting a total of 1,852 deaths amid 62,126 confirmed infections. Pictured: Arrivals at Heathrow

A travel corridor between Portugal and the UK had only been opened a few weeks ago, but the popular holiday destination has now been removed after a rise in coronavirus cases

A travel corridor between Portugal and the UK had only been opened a few weeks ago, but the popular holiday destination has now been removed after a rise in coronavirus cases

The Portuguese islands of Madeira and the Azores are exempt from the new rule, which also imposes two-week quarantines for those arriving in England from Hungary, French Polynesia and Reunion

The Portuguese islands of Madeira and the Azores are exempt from the new rule, which also imposes two-week quarantines for those arriving in England from Hungary, French Polynesia and Reunion

Just 34 fines issued for travel quarantine breaches, new figures show 

A total of 34 fines have been issued to travellers for breaching quarantine rules after arriving in the UK, new figures reveal.

Police forces have handed out 20 fixed penalty notices in England, while the Border Force has given out 14 across the UK up to September 7, according to the data released by the Home Office on Thursday.

The 14-day self-isolation policy for UK arrivals was introduced on June 8 for people returning to or visiting the UK from countries not on the exemption list.

In England, people can be fined £1,000 for failing to self-isolate and up to £3,200 for not providing accurate contact details.

Figures show 1,966,394 spot checks have been carried out on passengers to ensure they have filled out passenger locator forms, including contact details, passport number and address while in the country.

Public Health England (PHE) carries out further compliance checks on a random sample of travellers, resident in England and Northern Ireland, to check they are self-isolating.

The service has made a total of 149,579 calls and text messages – each person can be called up to three times on subsequent days and sent a text.

Successful contact, where the traveller has been spoken to or responded to a text, was made 66,773 times with 64,800 people confirming they were self-isolating.

Sweden currently has 13 patients in intensive care, by comparison the United Kingdom has 843 patients in hospital, 80 of them on ventilators.

Furthermore, Sweden has had an average of just one death per day for the last 10, compared to 9.3 fatalities each day in the UK over the same period.

Announcing the changes on Twitter today, Mr Shapps said: ‘Data shows we need to remove PORTUGAL (minus the AZORES and MADEIRA), HUNGARY, FRENCH POLYNESIA and REUNION from the Travel Corridor list to keep everyone safe. 

‘If you arrive in England from these destinations after 4am Saturday, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days.  

‘Through enhanced data we now have the capability to assess islands separate to their mainland countries. If you arrive in England from the AZORES or MADEIRA, you will NOT need to self-isolate for 14 days. 

‘This week, SWEDEN has been ADDED to the Travel Corridors list. If you arrive In England from Sweden, you will NOT need to self-isolate for 14 days.’  

Mr Shapps added that all travellers returning to the UK must now complete a Passenger Locator Form to ‘protect public health’ and ensure self-isolation rules. 

‘It is a criminal offence not to complete the form and spot checks will be taking place,’ he said.  

It comes after the Portuguese government today agreed tougher infection control restrictions against the coronavirus ahead of the start of the school year. 

Ministers agreed on new rules which will come into force next week, including limiting gatherings to 10 people rather than 20 previously – a cap already in force in the capital Lisbon since late June.

Sales of alcohol will also be banned from 8pm onwards alongside drinking in public places. Meanwhile, sporting venues will remain closed to fans ahead of the football championship kicking off next week.

‘We’ve been seeing a sustained rise in the number of new cases since the beginning of August,’ Prime Minister Antonio Costa said.

But most new cases were among asymptomatic people aged 20 to 39, Costa added.

He urged companies to allow for remote working or other infection control moves wherever possible. 

Downing Street also announced yesterday that Sweden has been added to the travel corridors list, after its seven-day case rate fell to 11.6 per 100,000 people. Pictured: Stockholm

Downing Street also announced yesterday that Sweden has been added to the travel corridors list, after its seven-day case rate fell to 11.6 per 100,000 people. Pictured: Stockholm

Destinations with no self-quarantine requirement on arrival in England, Scotland and Wales

Countries, territories and regions with no self-isolation requirement on arrival in England:    

  • Akrotiri and Dhekelia
  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • the Azores
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba
  • British Antarctic Territory
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Brunei
  • Cayman Islands
  • the Channel Islands
  • Cuba 
  • Curaçao
  • Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • Dominica
  • Estonia
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Fiji
  • Finland 
  • Gibraltar
  • Germany
  • Greece (except the islands of Crete, Lesvos, Mykonos, Santorini, Serifos, Tinos and Zakynthos – if you arrive in England from any of these islands after 4am 9 September 2020 you will need to self-isolate)
  • Greenland
  • Grenada
  • Guadeloupe
  • Hong Kong 
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • the Isle of Man
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Macao (Macau)
  • Madeira
  • Malaysia
  • Mauritius
  • Montserrat
  • New Caledonia
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
  • Poland  
  • San Marino
  • Seychelles
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Korea
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  • St Barthélemy
  • St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Pierre and Miquelon
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Sweden 
  • Taiwan
  • Turkey
  • Vatican City State
  • Vietnam

Countries, territories and regions with no self-isolation requirement on arrival in Scotland:    

  • Antigua and Barbuda 
  • Australia 
  • ​​​Barbados 
  • Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Brunei 
  • Cuba 
  • Curaçao 
  • Cyprus 
  • ​​​​​Denmark 
  • Dominica
  • Estonia
  • ​​​​Faroe Islands 
  • Fiji 
  • Finland  
  • Germany 
  • Greenland 
  • Grenada 
  • Guadeloupe
  • ​​Hong Kong 
  • Hungary 
  • Iceland
  • Italy 
  • Japan 
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein 
  • Lithuania
  • ​​Macau 
  • Malaysia 
  • Mauritius 
  • New Caledonia 
  • New Zealand 
  • Norway 
  • Poland  
  • Réunion 
  • San Marino 
  • Seychelles 
  • Slovakia 
  • Slovenia 
  • St Barthélemy 
  • St Kitts & Nevis  
  • St Lucia 
  • St Pierre and Miquelon 
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines 
  • South Korea 
  • Taiwan 
  • Turkey 
  • Vatican City State 
  • Vietnam 

Countries, territories and regions with no self-isolation requirement on arrival in Wales:   

  • Akrotiri and Dhekelia 
  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda 
  • Australia 
  • Barbados 
  • Bermuda
  • Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba
  • British Antarctic Territory
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Brunei 
  • Cayman Islands
  • Channel Islands 
  • Cuba 
  • Curaçao
  • Cyprus 
  • Denmark
  • Dominica
  • Estonia 
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Fiji
  • Finland 
  • Germany 
  • Greece  
  • Greenland
  • Grenada
  • Guadeloupe
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • the Isle of Man
  • Italy 
  • Japan
  • Latvia 
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania 
  • Macao (Macau)
  • Malaysia  
  • Mauritius 
  • Montserrat 
  • New Caledonia
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
  • Poland 
  • Reunion
  • San Marino 
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore 
  • Slovakia 
  • Slovenia 
  • South Korea
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands 
  • St Barthélemy
  • St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Pierre and Miquelon
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines 
  • Taiwan  
  • Turkey  
  • Vatican City State
  • Vietnam

 

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