Can I still travel to Portugal? What to do now that its turned amber

·3-min read
Paphos, Cyprus ( Natalya Zaritskaya on Unsplash)
Paphos, Cyprus ( Natalya Zaritskaya on Unsplash)

Disappointed Britons were crushed after Portugal was moved to the amber travel list on Thursday.

The new restrictions mean that many people who have booked holidays to Portugal will be unable to go because they can’t complete the 10-day self-isolation period.

Here we explain what to do if a change in the government’s traffic light system threatens your summer holiday.

Will my holiday to Portugal be cancelled?

Whether or not your trip will be cancelled depends on advice published by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

The Government’s traffic light system indicates what countries it considers safe for Britons to travel to and what steps must be carried out upon return.

But their identified risk factors and the FCDO’s don’t always match up.

Holiday firms use advice from the FCDO to assess whether a trip can go ahead. If it advises against travel to Portugal then holidaymakers will be entitled to a refund from a package holiday provider but if it does not then no one is entitled to anything.

However some providers, such as Tui and British Airways Holidays, will let you move your booking penalty free if your trip has been affected by changes to the traffic light system.

Airport arrivals (PA Archive)
Airport arrivals (PA Archive)

Can I get a refund if my holiday is moved to the amber or red list?

You are not legally entitled to a refund if you’re cancelling a trip because it has been moved onto the amber or red list, according to Which.

However it’s worth checking your terms and conditions and with your travel agent to see where you stand.

A refund will be offered by service providers such as Tui and British Airways only if the amber list country is also somewhere the FCDO does not advise travelling to.

Travellers have been advised to check their service providers’ booking policies but the consumer group has warned that not all travel insurance policies offer full cover for holidays that can’t go ahead due to Covid.

I’m on holiday in Portugal. Should I travel back early?

Portugal’s move onto the amber list comes into full force on Tuesday at 4am and although the choice is yours - it’s important to consider the consequences of coming back after that day.

People returning from Portugal and other amber list destinations must self-isolate at home for 10 days. They must also take a pre-departure test, and PCR tests on day two and day eight of your arrival in the UK.

If you’d like to come back to the UK in time to avoid these measures then you should contact your holiday provider and travel insurance provider to ask about your options.

Lateral flow tests (PA Wire)
Lateral flow tests (PA Wire)

What are the Portugal entry requirements?

At the moment, anyone travelling to Portugal, excluding children up to the age of two-years-old, must show a negative RT-PCR test result for Covid-19 at the time of boarding and the test must have been taken 72hours before boarding.

But if your journey originated in an EU member state where the virus rate exceeds 500 per 100,000 people, or you have travelled directly from or through India, South Africa or Brazil in the last 14 days you must self-isolate on arrival for 14 days.

Day 5 test to release explained

Passengers who have visited or transited through an amber country will be required to fill in the passenger locator form, provide a valid notification of a negative test result prior to travel, quarantine at home for 10 days, and take a test on day 2 and day 8 after arrival.

But they will also be given the option to opt into Test to Release at day 5.

Under the Test to Release scheme you can choose to pay for a private Covid-19 test and if the result is negative, you can end your quarantine - you can not opt for this scheme unless you have been in England for at least five days.

The scheme is voluntary and applies to those quarantining in England only.

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