London, Jun 3 (EFE).- British travelers will soon no longer be able to enjoy restriction-free travel to Portugal after the United Kingdom’s government on Thursday said it was to remove the country from its so-called green list of safe destinations.
In its review of travel rules, the government said it would put Portugal on its amber list from Tuesday, meaning Brits returning from the country, a popular tourist destination, will have to undergo three PCR tests, one before departure and two during quarantine in the UK.
The UK government did not add new countries to the green list, an announcement that will come as a blow to resorts in southern Europe ahead of what would normally be the start of the summer season.
Grant Shapps, the UK’s transport secretary, said the decision was a “safety first approach” designed to help the UK to lift its internal restrictions.
The Spanish government last month said UK visitors could enter the country free of any restrictions in a bid to revive its struggling tourist sector, a motor of the economy before the pandemic.
There had been speculation that the UK government could add the Balerics and the Canary Islands to the green list, both of which are heavily reliant on British tourism during the summer months.
Spain, France and Greece are all on the amber list. Portugal had been the only European Union country on the green list given its low Covid-19 infection rate and advanced vaccination campaign.
Thousands of UK travelers were able to fly to the country last month to watch Chelsea take on Manchester City in the Champions League final in Porto.
Half of all adults in the UK are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and three-quarters have had at least one dose of a jab, health authorities reported Thursday.
However, the rapid spread of the so-called delta variant of the coronavirus first detected in India, now dominant in the UK, has jeopardized prime minister Boris Johnson’s plans to fully lift restrictions on June 21. EFE