Portugal is in talks with the British Government to try to convince London to lift restrictions on travelers from Portugal, who are forced to isolate 14 days after arriving in the United Kingdom.
“We have been in contact with the UK, providing all the information required by the British Government,” said the Secretary of State for Tourism in an interview with Bloomberg.
“We are not sure when the decision will be reviewed, but we will not retaliate”, assured Rita Marques.
The United Kingdom is the largest outbound market for Portugal, weighing 20% of total tourists to the country. Tourism is an essential sector for the country, accounting for 15% of the economy.
“We don’t believe that quarantine is the right solution. People must be tested and if that is not possible then they must comply with the rules when they come to Portugal ”, he said.
“We believe that August and September will be strong months, and we will see how it goes in October and December. The situation is under control ”, guaranteed the minister.
On July 24, the Portuguese government again criticized the British for maintaining restrictions on flights originating in Portugal.
“What I agreed with the British Foreign Minister was accomplished. We had the indispensable meetings, and we exchanged the indispensable information ”, said the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Parliament at the time.
“From the moment that the British authorities finally explained to us what were the five criteria they considered for their decisions, we demonstrated that the Portuguese epidemiological situation was very positive, namely: in relation to the testing capacity; as to the lethality rate; as for the reproduction index, the so-called R; regarding the health system’s response capacity; as for the number of cases per 100 thousand inhabitants, we also demonstrate that this number of cases has been decreasing ”, affirmed Augusto Santos Silva.
“Therefore, we regret that in the end the decision was this, without justification”, shot the government official.
Lisbon says that London was warned yesterday of the maintenance of restrictions, but that, for the second time, “they were unable to explain the scientific and technical foundations of the decision”.
The minister left a message for the Portuguese who reside in the United Kingdom: “We will continue to work tirelessly so that they can come to Portugal for holidays and travel without quarantining”.
For the 40 thousand British residents Santos Silva said that Portugal “esteems them very much” and that he is “very proud” that they chose the country to live. “We will make sure that your travels between Portugal and the United Kingdom are carried out in the best possible conditions”.
“More day, less day, more week, less week, we hope that the reality prevails, that the facts are known, that the data are respected, and that the decision is reviewed”, he concluded.