When will Portugal move to the amber list?

4 June 2021, 09:45

Portugal will be removed from the UK's 'green list'
Portugal will be removed from the UK's 'green list'. Picture: PA

By Emma Clarke

It was announced that Portugal will be removed from the 'green list' on Thursday.

Back in May, Portugal was added to the 'green list', meaning non-essential travel was allowed.

However, on June 3 the UK Government announced that the country would be removed from the 'green list' and added to the 'amber list' from next week.

Holidaymakers in Portugal are now scrambling to get back to the UK before the new restrictions apply.

READ MORE: Portugal put on amber list over 'Nepal variant' despite WHO being 'unaware' of strain

READ MORE: Why has Portugal been taken off the green list? What happens if I booked a holiday?

But what are the new rules and when exactly is Portugal moving the 'amber list'? Here's everything you need to know...

When will Portugal be removed from the UK's green travel list?

Portugal will officially be moved to the 'amber list' from Tuesday, June 8. The changes will come into effect from 4am.

In practice, that means that UK tourists should not be travelling there and those returning from Portugal after that point will have to isolate for 10 days. You can read the full list of rules below.

Why has Portugal been moved to the amber list?

The UK Government has cited a rise in cases and a Covid mutation, or the so-called 'Nepal variant', which was apparently found in Portugal.

That said, the World Health Organisation (WHO) was "not aware" of this variant.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that the UK was taking a "safety first approach".

The Department for Transport also stated that the new measures were to "protect our vaccine rollout".

Since the announcement, both Portuguese officials and the travel sector have voiced their anger about the decision.

British Airways said the update was "incredibly disappointing and confusing news, not just for aviation but also for our customers".

easyJet's chief executive Johan Lundgren, meanwhile, commented: "Portuguese rates similar to those in the UK", and that the decision "simply isn't justified by the science."

He added: "When this framework was put together, consumers were promised a waiting list to allow them to plan.

"Yet the government has torn up its own rule book and ignored the science, throwing people's plans into chaos, with virtually no notice or alternative options for travel from the UK.

"This decision essentially cuts the UK off from the rest of the world."

Jet2 has also pushed back the restarting of flights from June 23 to July 1.

"We know how disappointed our customers and independent travel agency partners will be following today's announcement, and we share their concerns and frustrations," said Jet2's chief executive Steve Heapy.

Portugal's Cabinet of Minister of State for Foreign Affairs also tweeted: "Portugal continues to carry out its prudent and gradual de-confinement plan, with clear rules for the safety of those who live here and those who visit us."

Since the news was announced, holidaymakers in Portugal have been scrambling to get back to the UK before the new restrictions are enforced, to avoid the quarantine period.

What are the rules for amber list countries?

Before you depart an 'amber list' country for the UK, you will need proof of a negative Covid-19 test.

Upon your return, you must have a booked PCR test on day two and day eight, and quarantine for 10 days.

You may be able to end your quarantine period sooner if you take an additional PCR test on day 5 and the results are negative.

Below is a useful visual aid, explaining the dos and don'ts.

Traffic light system rules
Traffic light system rules. Picture: Department for Transport

Can I get my money back if I've booked a holiday to Portugal?

It depends.

If the Government announces new safety measures for a specific country and advises against travel, your airline or travel company is more than likely to cancel your pre-booked flights and holidays.

In this event, you are entitled to a full refund, which should take up to 7 days - although in some cases may take longer.

Package holidays should be refunded in full within 14 days.

However, if you decided to cancel your trip because you feel it's no longer safe, but the Government has not advised against travel, you may not be entitled to a refund.

You may wish to reschedule your flights to another time or destination, in which case you may receive a voucher, refund or be subjected to transfer fees.

The best thing to do is to check with the airline and/or holiday company before you travel or book.

When is the travel list going to be reviewed next?

The Government will review the traffic light system every three weeks, but that does not mean changes will be made.

Previously, changes came into effect on May 17, suggesting that the review would fall on June 7.

However, this month's review came earlier on June 3.