AIR bridges between the UK and Portugal may be in place as soon as this month, the Portuguese foreign minister has said.
Augusto Santos Silva said Brits were “most welcome” with hopes for the agreement to be confirmed by the end of June.
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An air bridge between the UK and Portugal could be in place by this month with hopes for holidays this year
The foreign minister told the BBC that he hopes for the air bridge this month to allow Brits back to the country.
The UK government is currently considering air bridges – an agreement between two countries to allow citizens to travel without quarantine – with destinations that have lower infection rates than the UK.
This comes alongside the mandatory 14-day quarantine for all arrivals to the UK, being implemented from June 8.
Mr Santos Silva told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “quarantine is an enemy of tourism”.
He went on: “During these weeks our diplomats will work together in order to guarantee that British tourists coming to Portugal would not be subjected on their return to England to any kind of quarantine.”
The UK is considering air bridges with other countries to allow quarantine-free travelCredit: Getty Images – Getty
He explained that Portugal would rely on temperature checks at airports on incoming passengers instead, and were considering carrying out “random testing” as well.
The country will also be introducing new rules such as limited nightclub capacity, beach warning systems to avoid overcrowding as well as restrictions on groups in the evenings.
Portugal’s once-booming tourism sector collapsed in April as lockdowns to contain the spread of the coronavirus grounded flights and kept visitors away.
The National Statistics Institute (INE) said the number of overnight stays by foreign tourists in Portugal dropped 98.3 per cent to nearly 71,000 last month from the previous year.
Despite the easing of travel, Brits are still not able to travel to Portugal due to the UK government’s advice on travelling abroad.
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The current advice is to avoid all “non-essential travel” meaning a trip overseas is out of the country for now.
While flights are also resuming next month, with easyJet, Ryanair and British Airways offering limited international flights, Brits would not be protected if they go on holiday until the government advice is lifted.
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