Portugal has been removed from the UK’s green list for foreign travel – while no other countries have been added.
The southern European nation will be removed from the green list and added to the amber list from Tuesday, June 8, transport secretary Grant Shapps.
For people currently on holiday in Portugal, if they do not return before the changes are brought in, they will be forced to self-isolate at home for 10 days.
This comes as part of the government’s update on foreign travel with reports also revealing that no countries have been added to the green list.
As coronavirus cases are on the rise in parts of the UK, this morning cabinet ministers met with the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) and an official announcement was made shortly before 4.30pm.
Mr Shapps raised concerns about the so-called Nepal variant as he made the announcement.
He said: "I want to be straight with people, it’s actually a difficult decision to make, but in the end we’ve seen two things really which caused concern.
“One is the positivity rate has nearly doubled since the last review in Portugal and the other is there’s a sort of Nepal mutation of the so-called Indian variant which has been detected and we just don’t know the potential for that to be vaccine-defeating mutation and simply don’t want to take the risk as we come up to June 21 and the review of the fourth stage of the unlock."
Reacting to the news, easyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said: "This shock decision to add Portugal to the amber list is a huge blow to those who are currently in Portugal and those who have booked to be reunited with loved ones, or take a well-deserved break this summer.
"With Portuguese rates similar to those in the UK it simply isn’t justified by the science.
"And to add no more countries to the green list when most of Europe’s infection rates are on a downward trend and many places with low infection rates below that of the UK, such as the Balearics with a current rate of 33 in 100,000 and Malta, with just 12 in 100,000, this makes no sense.
"Especially when domestic travel is allowed within the UK, despite a number of cities having infection rates 20 times greater than much of Europe."
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