Portugal stays on quarantine list in a blow for holidaymakers

Hopes that Portugal would be added to the ‘safe list’ of countries that Brits can travel too quarantine-free were dashed yesterday.

Malaysia and Brunei were added to the list on Tuesday following a review by the Government – but the popular holiday destination was once again not added.

Sources have said that the number of cases have not reduced swiftly enough for officials to add it to the list. 

An industry source told the Telegraph: “While cases have been dropping overall, the case incidence remains high. Removing Portugal would be a gamble.”

Portugal registered 120 new cases yesterday, in a drop from 290 last Friday.

But in the past two weeks, the number of cases per 100,000 has risen to 24.7, its first increase in weeks.

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It comes as France could be removed from the safe list this week, meaning 500,000 Brits would face a lastminute dash home or face two weeks in self-isolation.

France currently has 30.4 cases per 100,000 people according to the latest figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Contro

Spain was removed from the list when the rate hit 39, with holidaymakers learning that quarantine would be imposed less than five hours before it was introduced.

Yesterday, Jean Castex, the prime minister, said the figures were “going the wrong way.

The country has reported a significant rise in the number of people with coronavirus being admitted to hospital.

The number of people has increased by 34 to 5,045 compared with Friday, the French health ministry said on Monday.

And 1,397 cases were recorded yesterday, compared to Monday’s figure of 785.

The decision to impose or remove restrictions on countries is made by the Joint Biosecurity Centre, which looks at the number of cases, infection rate and testing figures.

The cumulative number of cases per 100,000 is a key tool to analyse risk – with countries with a rate over 20 thought to be of particular concern.

By comparison, in the UK, there are 18.3 cases per 100,000 people.

Switzerland, Malta and Holland could also be the next countries to be removed from the government’s safe list.

The Netherlands has spiked to 37.9 while Malta has soared to 61.6.

On August 6, the government announced that Belgium, The Bahamas and Andorra were being added to the quarantine list two days later. 

Heathrow airport’s chief executive has warned that a blanket travel ban is “strangling the UK economy”.

John Holland-Kaye said: “Tens of thousands of jobs are being lost because Britain remains cut off from critical markets such as the US, Canada and Singapore.

“The Government can save jobs by introducing testing to cut quarantine from higher-risk countries, while keeping the public safe from a second wave.”

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