As the government continues to work on implementing air bridges with “safe” countries, new hope from Portugal has sparked optimism it might be one of the first to agree to the new scheme. Officials from the country have shown willing to accept British tourists as soon as the UK Government allows for international travel.
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A Portuguese ambassador has confirmed that Portugal has made contact with the UK to discuss the possibility of an air bridge between the two countries.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, ambassador Manuel Lobo Antunes said: “We think the situation is under control and we would be happy to receive, as before, as many British as possible.”
He also commended the UK Government’s decision to reduce the country’s COVID-19 alert.
He hailed the change in status as “very good news” for Europe” and noted the “significant improvement in the control of the pandemic here in the UK”.
Portugal has already reopened its borders to international visitors, including Britons.
The land border between Spain and Portugal remains closed until July 1.
Currently, those arriving at airports in mainland Portugal will be subject to some checks.
The FCO explains: “You will be subject to health screening on arrival.
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“Your temperature will be checked and if it is high or you show signs of being unwell, you will be referred to the health authorities.”
However, despite the go-ahead from Portugal, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) maintains that Britons should not travel unless absolutely essential.
A change in this Travel Advisory Notice will be the ultimate deciding factor for holidays.
Portugal’s ambassador added: “We think that the situation is under control… and in Portugal, it is under control.
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“We have excellent facilities available to all those who visit us, so we think we are ready to receive, as before, those who want to visit us, not just from the UK but from France, Germany and so on.”
It is thought that once “air bridges” are put in place, Britons might be able to fly to participating countries without the need for a 14-day quarantine period.
According to the Independent, a total of 12 countries are currently being considered for the scheme.
Alongside Portugal, other countries speculated to be involved in discussions include France and Spain.
Portugal has already enforced a number of social distancing measures to help keep the nations safe from a second spike of the virus.
The use of masks is mandatory in enclosed spaces.
This includes in supermarkets, shops, beauty salons, schools, public services, at the airport, in taxis and on public transport.
Services now resuming, subject to strict measures on social distancing and hygiene, include: local shops, large stores and shopping centres, restaurants, cafés and bars (last orders at 11pm), museums, art galleries, monuments and buildings of historical interest, cinemas, theatres and auditoria, hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons, bingo halls and casinos.
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