Portugal could lose “green list” status

Shock announcement tonight?

Airport photo when Portugal was one of the first "green list" destinations

In what could be a huge setback to tourism in Madeira and Portugal as a whole, the Telegraph reports this morning that Boris Johnson has warned that the Government “will not hesitate” to axe countries from the green list for travel amid growing concern that Portugal could be removed.

Ministers and their medical advisers will meet on Thursday to decide whether Portugal should be dropped from the green list and instead rated amber, requiring holidaymakers to quarantine for 10 days on their return and pay for two PCR tests.

Scientists from the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) are concerned about rising infection rates and the emergence of variants in Portugal, which was the first of 12 countries and territories to appear on the first “green list” just three weeks ago. It is not clear if Madeira and the Azores would be bracketed with Portugal as a whole if its status is changed.

Possible move to “watch list”

The Telegraph reports that JBC experts were crunching the data before a final decision later today, but a switch to amber or a precursor “watch list” was thought likely on Wednesday night.

Asked about the green list on Wednesday, Mr Johnson said:

“You’ve got to wait and see what the JBC says and what the recommendations are about travel. We’re going to try to allow people to travel, as I know that many people want to, but we’ve got to be cautious and we’ve got to continue to put countries on the red list, on the amber list, when that is necessary.

“I want you to know we will have no hesitation in moving countries from the green list to the amber list to the red list, if we have to do so. The priority is to continue to protect the people of this country.”

Portugal could lose "green list" status 1

Any decision to switch Portugal from green to amber would send shockwaves through the travel sector and leave thousands of holidaymakers in limbo.

British visitors currently in Portugal would have to decide whether to cut trips short or face quarantine on return. People with flights booked in the coming weeks would have to negotiate new dates or refunds. It could be complicated if the Foreign Office also bans non-essential travel to Portugal, thereby invalidating insurance.

It was not clear on last night how long the Government would allow before any changes to the “green list” took effect, but in the past there have previously been delays of between three days and a week, allowing people time to return without facing quarantine on arrival.

The other alternative would be to put Portugal on the “watch list”, designed to warn travellers that a green destination may soon turn amber. But a source said: “The watch list is an ideal and things could change more quickly if, for example, a super-variant was found in a country. We won’t take any chances with it.”

More countries to be added to “red list”

Government sources warned that more countries could be added to the red list than to the green list on Thursday.  Countries touted as potential new red list destinations are Bahrain, Costa Rica and Vietnam. Anyone arriving from red destinations has to quarantine in a hotel at a cost of £1,750 per person.

Only Malta is thought a strong contender to join the green list from amber when the updated list is published.

Others previously been identified as on the cusp of green are the Cayman Islands, Grenada, British Virgin Islands, Finland and some Caribbean islands – but that will depend on ministers’ appetite for risk as well as data on infection rates, variants, vaccinations and capacity for genome sequencing.

Major tourist destinations including Spain, Italy, France and Greece are expected to remain amber, with ministers saying they are six to eight weeks behind the UK.

A new tab has been added to the top of each page with a link to resources dealing with COVID-19 in Madeira – this covers the latest government regulations on travel to the island, how to get a PCR test, and many other links that will be useful to people wanting to travel to and from Madeira

COVID-19 in Madeira: daily updates can be found on an earlier post

Vaccinations in Madeira: updates can be found on an earlier post.

35 thoughts on “Portugal could lose “green list” status”

    • well, for one thing, the region of Porto deteriorated a lot since the landing of 40 planes full of football hooligans from the UK. Brawls in bars, riots, you name it, everything you can connect with hooligans happened. We can only hope they did not bring us the Indian mutation of the virus.

    • No idea if the UK officials can tell Portugal apart from their autonomous regions. And yes, it would not be good for your planned trip to Madeira. Disaster, though? Maybe you could stop and think of all the people whose livelihood depends on tourism. Now for those, this really would be a disaster.

  1. This would be a major disappointment for us. We have a holiday in Madeira every year (when possible) to miss this would really be bad news.

  2. There was some talk on Radio 4 this morning about Spain trying to keep its island separate for green list purposes, so maybe Madeira will remain if Portugal is removed from the list.

  3. Perhaps Boris should be looking more closely at home…? A confirmed case is someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. There were 4,330 new people with a confirmed positive test result for coronavirus on 2 June 2021. (& its going up each day)

    Between 27 May 2021 and 2 June 2021, there were 25,240 people who had a confirmed positive test result. This shows an increase of 34.7% compared to the previous 7 days.

  4. Boris is just trying to blame someone other than himself More enlightened comment on the wider issue today” rather than stop further relaxation of the lockdown (not doing stage 3), this UK government carried on regardless. It poured petrol on a fire, and crossed its fingers that it would be OK. Actually even that is too generous. It reduced lockdown restrictions because the PM and the rest of the cabinet were prepared to see another wave of cases, hospitalisations and a fair number of deaths in the UK. The new variant is spreading rapidly in schools in areas where it is concentrated, so what did the government do – it told people in secondary schools they didn’t need to continue wearing masks.

    All this will come as a big surprise to most people. They will not have watched the occasional interview with an expert warning that this will happen. They will certainly not have read the SAGE minutes predicting this will happen. The media seem to only do crises when they happen, rather than before they happen. Perhaps they are scared of being accused of spreading panic, but the media really should sound the warning bells when PHE, after pressure from the government, starts delaying publication of data on the spread of the Indian variant in schools. Not only does this media silence put no pressure on the government to prevent the crisis, it also creates the impression that this was an act of God that had nothing to do with the government’s actions”

    • Very well said. And, of course, Johnson took so long to lock the borders against the Delta variant, as we must now call the variant that originated in India, which led to this mess.

      • What about the Nepal variant doing the rounds of Europe? It hasn’t reached the UK as yet oh, it is possible that this variant IS able to evade the vaccinations. It is easy to kick and scream at the UK government but European nations have had more than their fair share of cock ups.

        • Absolutely, Maurice. But this article is about the UK green/amber list, not the EU lists who are different and do not apply for the UK anymore. So kicking and screaming at any EU government would be a bit beside the point here.

            • I am merely stating the truth, as, indeed, did John Mather, but I notice you’ve not taken a pop at him!

              As for the other EU countries, if I lived in one of those, doubtless I would be commenting on the relevant Govt. but I don’t so, not only does it not affect me, I have no experience so am not qualified to comment.

              I’m do wonder why you are so ready to defend this Govt’s appalling record on virtually everything it touches, education, being just the latest issue.

            • You Monsieur Maurice started the controversy by claiming that the Germans used the expression “English variant” as a stigmatising revenge for Brexit.

              Fortunately the WHO has come to the rescue of this blog by introducing the Greek alphabet.

              Ow, now it occurs to me:
              After the comments – including yours – about gender neutrality, the newest name for the English strain could be considered stigmatising for you and some other alpha men.

        • If you know how to google, please look up “Nepal Strain covid”.


          THE SCOTSMAN:
          It comes after the Daily Mail reported on its front page today: “’Nepal Variant’ a threat to our holidays”. It cited ‘sources’ claimed an evolved strain of the Indian variant had been found in 20 Brits, and this could affect travel across Europe.

          However, these claims have not been verified by health bodies or the Government and it is not clear which sources the newspaper has spoken to.

          Nepal Variant: Debunking the myths around claims of new Covid-19 strain
          The WHO says it is “not aware” of any Nepal Variant of Covid-19.

          And many other newspapers.

  5. The reasons can be seen on another story on here about the football celebrations in Portugal and Madeira. With a dramatic rise in cases here. If the cases rise then Portugal will lose it’s green status, that’s not a surprise. The cases per million in Portugal are approximately 30% more than the UK.

    • Madeira sees a decrease, Walter, it’s the Porto region that is quite heavily affected by the football ‘celebrations’. And as I said elsewhere (strangely, still awaiting moderation where later comments are already online) there were 40 planes full of football fans/hooligans that unloaded in Porto.

  6. … Wow ,, You really do blow things way out of proportion, there was just a few isolated bits of minor trouble ,, and condemning all on 40 flights as hooligans just shows how little you really know ,, you’ve got what it takes to be a scare mongering journalist or maybe you could write a trashy book titled: Absolute Nonsense !!! …

  7. The horse bolted from the stable in early 2020…

    PCR tests should not continue to be used due their high level of false positives and very poor efficacy

    It looks like all those “conspiracy theorists” were correct, Dr Fauci and his cronies did indeed provide funding via the NIH to a team of researchers at the Wuhan lab to perform ‘gain of function’ research

    The information will be released in regards to the spike protein, will shock quite a few people. The combination has a tiny probability of ever occurring and is extremely rare in the natural mutation of SARS

    Lockdowns will not work, yet governments will continue to grasp at straws as the world’s economy spirals into oblivion sparing no one

    The headless chickens in power will of course roll out more and more mrna jabs to the populace in the hopes that a weaker mutation takes center stage and can be controlled by the human immune system

    In regards to the football, the Portuguese authorities were fully aware of the ramifications of allowing the final in Porto
    Why would a government knowingly allow people from another country to enter potentially harbouring another variant?

    There is a very high probability that every single one of us already has the SARS antigen due to natural transmission
    We already have already reached herd immunity and as such do not required any further medical intervention

    The issue is really is the headless chickens….

    Regards to all

  8. Meanwhile in the same article Finland is reported as being on the “cusp of green”.

    Not that Finland is letting anyone in at the moment…

    (I agree with the comments on Porto – without painting every single travelling fan with the same brush. It must be extremely annoying for the Madeiran authorities that the Portuguese authorities on the mainland welcomed the Champions League final to Portugal)


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