sunny.png
Sunday August 1st, 2021 12:46PM

Holiday chaos as UK removes Portugal from travel green list

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LONDON (AP) — Britain said Thursday that it is removing Portugal from its list of COVID-safe travel destinations, meaning thousands of U.K. residents currently on vacation there face the prospect of 10 days' quarantine on return.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the “difficult decision” was prompted by rising infection rates in Portugal and worries about new versions of the coronavirus that could prove resistant to vaccines. He said a mutation of the delta variant first identified in India was causing particular concern.

He said “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 a vaccine-defeating mutation and simply don’t want to take the risk as we come up to June 21” — the date the U.K. government hopes to lift remaining coronavirus restrictions.

The change will take effect at 4 a.m. (0300GMT) on Tuesday. Territories including Iceland, Israel and the Falkland Islands remain on the U.K. green list.

Also starting Tuesday, Britain is adding seven countries — Afghanistan, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Trinidad and Tobago — to its “red list” of places with severe COVID-19 outbreaks. All but essential travel to red list countries is barred, and U.K. residents returning from any of them must spend 10 days in a government-approved quarantine hotel.

The U.K. has recorded almost 128,000 coronavirus deaths, the highest toll in Europe. A mass vaccination campaign that started in December has given two doses of vaccine to more than half the adult population and brought new infections and deaths down sharply.

But case numbers are once again rising as the more transmissible delta variant spreads across the U.K.

Public Health England said that strain was now dominant in the U.K, displacing a variant first identified last year in southeast England and dubbed alpha by the World Health Organization. The agency said early evidence suggests there may be an increased risk of hospital admission from the delta variant.

Portugal is a major destination for sun-seeking Britons, and was the only large tourism destination on the U.K. government’s “green list,” announced last month, of places that can be visited without the need to self-isolate on return.

Tourism, by mainly British visitors, is a mainstay of the southern European country’s economy, accounting for around 15% of annual gross domestic product.

Portugal’s foreign ministry said it “can’t understand the logic" behind the British decision.

“Portugal is continuing its easing of its lockdown, prudently and gradually, with clear rules for the safety of those who reside here or visit us,” it said in a tweet.

The travel industry reacted with dismay to the U.K. announcement.

“Ministers spent last month hailing the restart of international travel, only to close it down three weeks later, all but guaranteeing another lost summer for the travel sector," Heathrow Airport chief executive John Holland-Kaye said.

Andrew Flintham, managing director of travel company TUI UK, said moving Portugal off the green list “will do untold damage to customer confidence.”

“We were reassured that a green watch list would be created and a week’s notice would be given so travelers wouldn’t have to rush back home," he said. “They have failed on this promise.”

Along with the nations designated red or green, the British government has classified dozens of “amber list” countries, including the United States. Travelers from amber countries must complete a 10-day quarantine at home.

___

Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Health, AP Business
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
French Open: No. 1 Barty retires, Djokovic & Federer advance
Top-ranked Ash Barty has retired from her second-round match at the French Open because of a hip injury
1:41PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Holiday chaos as UK removes Portugal from travel green list
Britain is removing Portugal from its list of COVID-safe travel destinations, meaning thousands of U.K. residents currently on vacation there will have to quarantine on return
1:40PM ( 21 minutes ago )
The Latest: US OKs vaccine materials for more companies
White House officials say U.S. producers of vaccine materials and ingredients will no longer have to prioritize orders from three companies
1:39PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Biden offers vaccines for global sharing program
President Joe Biden plans to share COVID-19 vaccines with the world, including directing 75% of excess doses through the UN-backed COVAX global vaccine sharing program
12:01PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: California considers new workplace mask rules
California is set to fully reopen in less than two weeks and do away with nearly all mask and social distancing requirements for vaccinated people
10:12AM ( 3 hours ago )
Slow to start, China now vaccinating at a staggering pace
After a slow start, China is now doing what virtually no other country in the world can: leveraging the power and all-encompassing reach of its one-party system and a maturing domestic vaccine industry to administer shots at a staggering pace
9:26AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Health
US will boost global vaccine-sharing, Biden announces
The White House says the U.S. will share more COVID-19 vaccines with the world, including directing 75% of excess doses through the UN-backed COVAX global program
1:23PM ( 38 minutes ago )
Biden announces international COVID-19 vaccine sharing plan
The White House says the U.S. will share more COVID-19 vaccines with the world, including directing 75% of excess doses through the UN-backed COVAX global program
12:37PM ( 1 hour ago )
Stocks move lower on Wall Street; AMC slumps on stock sale
Stocks mostly fell on Wall Street in afternoon trading Thursday as investors weighed the latest economic reports showing that unemployment is falling, but labor costs are rising
12:30PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
French Open: No. 1 Barty retires, Djokovic & Federer advance
Top-ranked Ash Barty has retired from her second-round match at the French Open because of a hip injury
1:41PM ( 20 minutes ago )
The Latest: US OKs vaccine materials for more companies
White House officials say U.S. producers of vaccine materials and ingredients will no longer have to prioritize orders from three companies
1:39PM ( 22 minutes ago )
United Airlines sees a supersonic future
United Airlines hopes to bring back supersonic travel before the end of this decade
1:39PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Crews remove barriers, memorials at George Floyd Square
Crews have removed concrete barriers, artwork, flowers and other items from a Minneapolis intersection that has been a sprawling memorial to George Floyd since his death last year
1:38PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Netanyahu foes push for quick vote to end his 12-year rule
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opponents are pushing for a quick parliament vote to formally end his lengthy rule
1:35PM ( 26 minutes ago )