Eddie Mair 4pm - 7pm
People returning from Portugal to Scotland and Wales face 14-day quarantine
5 September 2020, 07:03 | Updated: 5 September 2020, 08:03
People returning from Portugal to Scotland and Wales face a 14-day quarantine from today, but not those returning to England and Northern Ireland.
The issue remains politically divisive after the UK and Scottish governments entered a tit-for-tat on Friday over this issue of rising Covid-19 levels in Europe.
New rules have dictated that from 4am on Saturday people arriving in Scotland and Wales from Portugal must self-isolate for a fortnight.
Portugal had only been removed from the UK quarantine list two weeks ago.
However, there were rumours the Department for Transport would opt to reinstate it after the country’s coronavirus cases rose to more than 20 cases per 100,000 people.
We continue to keep the Travel Corridor list under constant review & won't hesitate to remove countries if needed. However, there are no English additions or removals today.— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) September 3, 2020
Nonetheless, holidaymakers are reminded - 14-day quarantine countries can & do change at very short notice
England and Northern Ireland however opted not to collapse the so-called travel corridor with Portugal.
Scotland on Thursday also reintroduced quarantine for those returning from Greece, while Wales did the same for six Greek islands, including Crete and Zante.
England and Northern Ireland again decided not to put restrictions in place.
Despite the political differences, Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted that “overwhelmingly the UK is proceeding as one”.
However, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said there was now “confusion” over differing quarantine rules across the union and accused Scotland of having “jumped the gun” on imposing restrictions on Greece.
A spokesman for the Scottish Government said there had been a “worrying number of people in Scotland who tested positive for Covid-19 and who had returned from Greece”.
He added: “In the case of Portugal, it was unfortunate that the UK Government announced their decision yesterday before ministers from England, Scotland and Northern Ireland met and before considering the latest Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) data.“This indicated a significant rise in both the prevalence of the virus in Portugal and in test positivity.”
Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething said Wales was acting “in line with” the risk assessments from the JBC in imposing a 14-day quarantine on arrivals from the six Greek islands and Portugal.