Earlier this week British authorities announced which countries they had negotiated air bridges with, meaning passengers from England will no longer have to self-isolate on their return for 14 days. The deals do not affect Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland whose residents will still have to self-isolate in line with instructions from their devolved government.
At present anyone returning to the UK from any country other than the Republic of Ireland is required by law to self-isolate for 14 days to reduce the risk of coronavirus.
However from July 10 these restrictions will be lifted for English residents travelling back from 59 destinations.
Portugal, which held discussions with the UK Government about operating an ‘air bridge’, is not on the list.
The country has been hit by a renewed wave of coronavirus over the past few weeks.
Portugal’s Prime Minister claimed the Algarve has less COVID-19 per capita than Britain
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However Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio Costa took to Twitter to criticise the decision.
He posted a graph showing the number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 for the UK and Portugal’s Algarve region, at 418 and 142 respectively.
Mr Costa accompanied this with the caption: “Which is the safest place to stay?
“You are welcome to spend a safe holiday in Algarve!”
A vigil outside the gates of Downing Street for Britain’s COVID-19 dead
Nearly all passengers, excluding a small number of exceptions, will still be expected to provide contact details when the arrive back in England.
Countries on the no quarantine list include Spain, Italy, France and Germany in Europe.
In addition to Portugal Sweden and Russia are not included on the list.
Countries further afield incorporated include Australia, Barbados and New Zealand.
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Strict social distancing measures will continue to be enforced in pubs and bars
However whilst there will be no quarantine at the UK end travellers may still face restrictions, and in some cases bans, from the country they wish to visit.
Holidaymakers are strongly advised to check the specific details for their destination before flying.
Announcing the change the Department for Transport said: “This will mean that holidaymakers travelling to and from certain destinations will not need to self-isolate on either leg of their journey.”
It added the list of countries included will be “kept under constant review, so that if the health risks increase, self-isolation measures can be re-introduced to help stop the spread of the disease into England”.
On Saturday many businesses, including pubs, restaurants and hair salons, will be able to reopen for the first time since lockdown began.
Mr Johnson has described it as the “biggest step yet on the road to recovery”.
However the Prime Minister warned coronavirus is still a major threat and the public must continue to adhere to social distancing.
He explained: “The success of these businesses, the livelihoods of those who rely on them and ultimately the economic health of the whole country is dependent on every single one of us acting responsibly.
Britain has the highest coronavirus death toll in Europe
“We must not let them down.”
Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, warned pubs pose a particular virus risk.
He said: “There’s no doubt these are environments whose principal job it is to bring people together.
“That’s a great thing to do socially, but it’s also a great thing from the virus’s point of view.
“And therefore we do have to have a really clear and really disciplined approach to try and maintain social distancing whilst also enjoying pubs.”
On Friday another 137 UK coronavirus deaths were announced taking the UK figure over 44,000, more than in any other European country.