Portugal and Greece have retained their places on England’s quarantine exemption list but Wales and Scotland have added restrictions.
The development widens the discrepancies in coronavirus travel policies of Westminster and the devolved administrations.
There was speculation that the UK Government would reimpose the quarantine requirement on Portugal due to a spike in Covid-19 cases, leading many holidaymakers to pay up to £554 to fly home this week.
The Government was also under pressure to reimpose quarantine rules on arrivals from Greece after Scotland and Wales introduced restrictions in recent days.
But Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced there were no changes to the Government’s list on Thursday.
The Welsh Government then revealed that it is removing the exemption from the 14-day self-isolation requirement for travellers returning from Portugal, Gibraltar and seven Greek islands.
The new rule comes into force at 4am on Friday.
The Scottish Government later said passengers arriving from Portugal would have to quarantine from 4am on Saturday, as well as those arriving from French Polynesia.
Scotland began requiring travellers from anywhere in Greece to enter quarantine from Thursday.
There were 23.0 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people in Portugal in the seven days to Wednesday, up from 15.3 a week earlier.
A seven-day rate of 20 is the threshold above which the UK Government has considered triggering quarantine conditions.
Mr Shapps said a number of other factors are taken into account in relation to the list, including the level of change in cases, extent of testing, and whether outbreaks are “contained”.
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.Nonetheless, holidaymakers are reminded – 14-day quarantine countries can & do change at very short notice
— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) September 3, 2020
Kelly Jones and her family changed their flights home from the Algarve from Saturday to Friday at a cost of £900 to avoid a potential quarantine because she did not want her children to miss out on two weeks of school.
The 45-year-old from Birmingham said the situation was “absolutely disgusting”, telling the PA news agency: “It’s cost us a lot more money and it’s money we didn’t need to spend now.
“We’ve lost an extra night in our villa – we won’t get that back – we’ve got a hire car, so we’re taking that back a day early.”
She added: “The Government just change the goalposts left, right and centre at the moment. It’s embarrassing.”
Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: “The quarantine policy is in tatters and dividing the United Kingdom.
“Consumers are totally confused by the different approaches and it’s impossible to understand the Government’s own criteria any more on when to add or remove a country.”
Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: “Days of speculation around this announcement meant many people rushed to pay extortionate prices for flights back to England to avoid having to quarantine on their return – only to now find out there was no need.
“The Government knows this and yet it continues to offer no clarity around how these decisions are made, all while ignoring the growing evidence suggesting this system is not working.
“If the Government is serious about letting international travel resume while prioritising public health, a major reassessment of its approach is needed.”
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