Although Portugal remains on the safe list, for English tourists at least, rumours to the contrary spark panic and holiday cancellations
Noel Josephides sounds weary. Two weeks ago when the UK government added Portugal to the travel corridor list, the chairman of Sunvil issued a statement saying he was delighted to start selling holidays to Portugal again, “just in time for the last couple of weeks of the peak summer season, but also in time for the glorious autumnal months of September and October, right into November”.
By the beginning of this week the rumour was that the country’s brief spell as a “safe destination” was about to come to an end as coronavirus cases in the country went above 20 per 100,000 people – the level at which the UK government considers triggering quarantine conditions. On Tuesday, the UK ambassador to Portugal fuelled speculation that the country would soon revert to the quarantine list when he warned that air bridges can “change quickly”. The hint that the 20 August decision could be reversed was enough to unsettle British holidaymakers in Portugal and spark a rush to get back to the UK before the dreaded deadline. EasyJet sold out of all its flights from Faro, which serves the Algarve, to airports in Britain on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.