The gates have closed! Travel quarantine on Portugal and Hungary comes into force


Travel quarantine on Portugal and Hungary came into force this morning after the last Brits arrived back in the UK following a mad scramble before the 4am deadline.

Fuming Britons returning from Portugal last night blasted the Government’s travel quarantine as a ‘shambles,’ as they revealed they had forked out hundreds on earlier flights. 

The cost of flights home soared to £600 within minutes of Thursday night’s announcement, and British Airways laid on an extra service from Faro on the Algarve. 

Many of the 35,000 Britons currently in Portugal will have no choice but to carry on with their holidays and self-isolate for 14 days on their return. Some may have to take unpaid sick leave and university students could miss the start of term. 

The Hake family arrived back in the UK. Pictured: Lizzy Hake (second from left), 21-month-old Olivia, and the rest of the family after getting back from Vilamoura on a five-day trip

The decision was taken after the number of cases in Portugal over seven days jumped to 28.3 per 100,000 people on Thursday, over the Government's threshold of 20

The decision was taken after the number of cases in Portugal over seven days jumped to 28.3 per 100,000 people on Thursday, over the Government’s threshold of 20

Simon Garner was due to arrive home on Tuesday with wife Clare, but forced to cut his holiday short.

The 48-year-old, from Ipswich, Suffolk, said: ‘It’s a shambles, they don’t give you enough notice to come back, they should give you a week to come back safely.

‘They have allowed people to go out yesterday who have now got to come back today.

‘People have flown out with children and they have had to scramble back today, they have lost thousands.’

Lorraine Norden , 65, and husband Anthony , 69, were forced to fly back early and were stung for an extra £250. Fearing a packed flight, the couple put on extra PPE to help protect themselves

Lorraine Norden , 65, and husband Anthony , 69, were forced to fly back early and were stung for an extra £250. Fearing a packed flight, the couple put on extra PPE to help protect themselves

Garry Mc Givney,40, Kevin Torres (centre), 40, and Neil Bayton, also 40, had to make a last minute dash back from Lagos

Garry Mc Givney,40, Kevin Torres (centre), 40, and Neil Bayton, also 40, had to make a last minute dash back from Lagos

Passengers arriving back from Faro in Portugal

Passengers crammed onto limited flights into the UK before the 4am travel quarantine deadline this morning

Passengers arriving back from Faro in Portugal on the last flights into the UK before the 4am travel quarantine deadline this morning

He added: ‘When you come through you fill out a form, but no-one checks your forms. The planes are filthy too, it was really packed.

‘The one going out with EasyJet was fantastic, Ryanair coming back everything was dirty. We have had to pay £400 to come back early but they went up to £1,000 yesterday, they are profiteering off us really.’

The dock worker added: ‘We feel safer over there too.’

Abbie Willcox had tried to get to Portugal three times this year with each time being cancelled due to the virus.

She ended up arriving at her family’s private villa in the Algarve at 2pm yesterday but immediately booked a flight back when the restrictions were announced.

Lorraine Anastasiades and husband Stas were forced to fly back from their holiday early

Lorraine Anastasiades and husband Stas were forced to fly back from their holiday early

Simon Garner, 48, from Ipswich said he felt safer in Portugal, but was forced to cut his holiday short and fly back to Stansted before quarantine measures started at 4am

Simon Garner, 48, from Ipswich said he felt safer in Portugal, but was forced to cut his holiday short and fly back to Stansted before quarantine measures started at 4am

Isabelle Brett , 20, had only arrived with her family in the Algarve on Monday to stay in a villa. They cut their holiday short by two days and flew back last night

Isabelle Brett , 20, had only arrived with her family in the Algarve on Monday to stay in a villa. They cut their holiday short by two days and flew back last night

She said: ‘Portugal is so safe compared to the UK – especially the Algarve where we were staying in a private family villa.

‘Once Portugal was taken off the quarantine list two weeks ago we booked for this week thinking we would surely be fine.

‘We arrived at 2pm yesterday, and two hours later we found out about the quarantine news.

Just 34 fines issued for travel quarantine breaches, new figures show 

A total of 34 fines have been issued to travellers for breaching quarantine rules after arriving in the UK, new figures reveal.

Police forces have handed out 20 fixed penalty notices in England, while the Border Force has given out 14 across the UK up to September 7, according to the data released by the Home Office on Thursday.

The 14-day self-isolation policy for UK arrivals was introduced on June 8 for people returning to or visiting the UK from countries not on the exemption list.

In England, people can be fined £1,000 for failing to self-isolate and up to £3,200 for not providing accurate contact details.

Figures show 1,966,394 spot checks have been carried out on passengers to ensure they have filled out passenger locator forms, including contact details, passport number and address while in the country.

Public Health England (PHE) carries out further compliance checks on a random sample of travellers, resident in England and Northern Ireland, to check they are self-isolating.

The service has made a total of 149,579 calls and text messages – each person can be called up to three times on subsequent days and sent a text.

Successful contact, where the traveller has been spoken to or responded to a text, was made 66,773 times with 64,800 people confirming they were self-isolating.

‘We immediately felt sick – neither of us can quarantine with work.

‘We had to pay hundreds and hundreds to get the only flight we can get back before 4am Saturday which is to Birmingham.’

She added: ‘Our car is at London Heathrow so we need to get on a 100 per cent full flight back to Birmingham, stay in a Birmingham hotel tonight – big cost – and then get a train – another big cost – back to London tomorrow.

‘The busy flight, visiting Birmingham, and getting on a train to London is so much more dangerous than staying in a private villa in Portugal. Utter shambles.’

Isabelle Brett, 20, had only arrived with her family in the Algarve on Monday to stay in a villa.

After scrambling to get last minute flights home, they cut their holiday short by two days and flew back last night. 

The decision was taken after the number of cases in Portugal over seven days jumped to 28.3 per 100,000 people on Thursday, over the Government’s threshold of 20.

The new restrictions do not apply to the Portuguese islands of Madeira and the Azores, where infection rates are lower than on the mainland. 

Lorraine Norden, 65, and husband Anthony, 69, were also forced to fly back early and were stung for an extra £250. Fearing a packed flight the couple put on extra PPE to help protect themselves. 

Mrs Norden said: ‘To some extent I can see the rationale but when the infection rate is not much different compared to here it is a bit odd. 

‘This morning when we were at Faro airport the plane was so crowded, we were put in a situation that was more dangerous. I also think there possibly should be more warning.

‘We had to cut our holiday short by a week, we hedged our bets when we realised this might happen last week we booked a flight, but we were hoping to stay. 

‘We did notice in Portugal that the Portuguese follow the rules more than the English.’ 

Her husband added: ‘It is one of those things. We were lucky to get a holiday and it is a very serious situation.’ 

Lorraine Anastasiades and husband Stas were also forced to fly back from their holiday early. Mrs Anastasiades said: ‘We have had to cut back our holiday by 10 days. 

‘It’s a bit heartbreaking after lockdown but it is what it is, we both have jobs we can’t do at home.’  

Amazon warehouse worker Sophie Petro, 22, was also returning from Portugal

Amazon warehouse worker Sophie Petro, 22, was also returning from Portugal

Portugal and Hungary have today been removed from the quarantine exemption list, meaning holidaymakers must rush home or face a two-week quarantine. Pictured: The Algarve

Portugal and Hungary have today been removed from the quarantine exemption list, meaning holidaymakers must rush home or face a two-week quarantine. Pictured: The Algarve

Holidaymaker, 20, is forced to cut holiday short ahead of starting a new job on Monday 

Isabelle Brett is among the British tourists who have had their holidays disrupted by the addition of Portugal to the quarantine list.

The 20-year-old had only arrived with her family in the Algarve on Monday to stay in a villa.

After scrambling to get last minute flights home they cut their holiday short by two days and flew back last night.

Miss Brett, from Little Canfield in Essex, starts a new job next week and would not have been able to quarantine for two weeks on her return.

She said it had been ‘very, very stressful’ trying to get back before the rule takes effect.

‘We were on the beach when we found out about the new regulations for us quarantining,’ she said. ‘Straight away we were on the phone to Jet2. We were on hold for approximately two hours.

‘When we finally got through we were told after looking on the systems that all flights where fully booked from Faro to anywhere in England and there was no way of getting back before having to quarantine.

‘I must admit it was a very, very stressful situation.

‘Eventually Jet2 said they had added another flight to help people who were struggling to get back and they booked us straight onto it for tomorrow at 7pm from Faro to Stansted.’

Miss Brett said the family thought they would be able to go on their week-long holiday to their house in Castro Marim without having to isolate once they returned to Essex.

‘Listening to the Government’s guidelines about how Portugal wasn’t going to go on the quarantine list we thought we would be safe, but we were a little sceptical,’ she said. 

Sophie Petro, 22, was also returning from Portugal but did not have to change her plans. She said: ‘I’m just lucky I got this flight rather than one later. 

‘My parents have to fly back Sunday so they will have to quarantine. If I couldn’t get back I would have to stay home for two weeks, I work at the Amazon warehouse so I would have to miss work. 

‘I felt quite safe over there, apart from the flight. It was really busy as it was probably one of the only flights you could get. The flight on the way back was full with people coming back early, I could hear people on the beach trying to change their flights.’ 

Steve and Claire Knight, both 46 and from Telford, Shropshire, were enjoying their honeymoon in the sun when they found out they had to return.

Mr Knight, who owns two schools in Shropshire, said: ‘We’ve been on our honeymoon, believe it or not.

‘We got married last week so we booked 11 nights and were due to come back next Wednesday, but obviously that’s had to change.

‘We were straight on the internet booking the next flight home – that was 5pm yesterday and it was panic stations. We were desperate to get back.’

Unfortunately, the couple payed an uplift of £200 on each return flight so they could come back early enough to avoid having to quarantine themselves.

Mrs Knight, a factory finance director, said: ‘Fortunately we didn’t have to pay for the nights we didn’t use at the hotel.

‘The holiday company was good too so we only had to pay the duration.

‘We’re disappointed, we’re frustrated – but I suppose if you go away you have to be prepared for this to happen, don’t you? It’s a risk we took.’

Mr Knight added: ‘We knew the risk, we knew it could go on the list but we went anyway.’

Fiona Bolton and Neil Simon, 47 and 51, who were also returning from their trip, said: ‘We were there just 20 hours in total.

‘It was a long break but these things have to be done to protect everybody.

‘We planned it after the quarantine was lifted last time. The streets there are not vey busy and they have lost a lot of tourists.

‘We’re disappointed, but its life at the minute; nothing is certain and you have to just go with it.

‘We have spent £1,200 for 20 hours. The flight back was £250 each extra on top of the BA flight cost.’

John Dawson, 60, who works in the pharmaceuticals industry, said: ‘We should have come back on Sunday, but we came back today and we had flights booked for Wednesday as well.

‘We were on holiday, it’s very disappointing. Luckily I had it on air miles so I could change the booking. It was a pain in the arse but it didn’t cost us very much.’

Vicky White and Jane Herrington, 47 and 41, we’re taking a much-needed break from lockdown but had to cut it short.

Ms White, a payroll officer for a cinema company, said: ‘We were due to come back Wednesday next week but I booked an extra flight for today knowing that they would probably put in on the quarantine list last night so this was a security flight.

‘We’ve come back about six days early. We’re disappointed but we did have five days in the sun so after a long, long summer at home being cooped up it’s been really lovely.’

Ms Herrington added: ‘Portugal felt very safe, they knew what they were doing, they’ve got it under control there. We were in The Algarve so there weren’t many people around.’

Meanwhile, Sweden, which did not impose a compulsory lockdown and chose a ‘herd immunity’ approach to tackling coronavirus, was removed from the UK’s quarantine list after its infection rate fell. 

Hungary, French Polynesia and Reunion have also been added to Britain’s ‘red’ list of territories subject to quarantine.

Scotland and Wales had already added Portugal and French Polynesia to their quarantine list, but other changes announced on Thursday apply to all four parts of the UK. Industry leaders told of their dismay at the latest decision, which comes three weeks after Portugal was removed from the quarantine list.

Travel consultant Paul Charles said: ‘The weekly review needs to be changed. They need to move the system to a traffic light system so that consumers are clearly-informed about ministers’ intentions and which countries are at risk. It would enable them to book trips with more certainty.’

It came as Home Office figures revealed officials have only managed to fine 34 people for breaching quarantine since the rules were introduced in June – despite the fact that two million people have arrived in the country since then. 

Public Health England said it had made or sent 149,579 calls or text messages to passengers to check they were self-isolating at home. Some 64,800 people had confirmed they were self-isolating.

Portugal has seen a steady rise in cases since it was removed from the quarantine list three weeks ago, now reporting a total of 1,852 deaths amid 62,126 confirmed infections. 

It saw 646 new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, the nation’s highest figure since April.         

Wales and Scotland had already imposed their own self-isolation rules on Portugal, with Nicola Sturgeon also recently mandating 14-day isolation for arrivals from Greece and Wales adding six Greek islands to its list.

Downing Street’s switch-up of the quarantine exemption list comes after Mr Shapps last week insisted there would be no changes to English travel corridors.   

Sources told MailOnline at the time that although Portugal was above the ‘trigger’ threshold for cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day period, that appeared to be because they were carrying out more tests.

A travel corridor between Portugal and the UK had only been opened a few weeks ago, but the popular holiday destination has now been removed after a rise in coronavirus cases

A travel corridor between Portugal and the UK had only been opened a few weeks ago, but the popular holiday destination has now been removed after a rise in coronavirus cases

Heathrow boss warns quarantine is ‘strangling’ the economy as passenger numbers fall 81%

Heathrow has warned that the Government’s quarantine policy is costing jobs ‘every day’ after recording an 82 per cent decline in passenger numbers last month.

The west London airport wants testing to be permitted as a way of reducing the 14-day coronavirus quarantine requirement for arriving travellers.

Just 1.4 million people travelled through the airport in August, compared with 7.7 million during the same month in 2019.

Mainland Portugal, Hungary, French Polynesia and Reunion were removed from the Government’s quarantine exemption list for England on Thursday.

Travellers have until 4am on Saturday to return before the new rules are implemented.

For holidaymakers scrambling to return from Portugal’s Algarve to London on Friday, British Airways had flights to Heathrow costing £494, while easyJet had a flight to Gatwick for £286.

More than half of the passengers who used Heathrow in August were travelling to or from the European Union.

Demand for North American routes was down 95% year on year.

Heathrow said more than 30 airports around the world are already using coronavirus testing of travellers as a way of reducing quarantine requirements.

One of those airports, Germany’s Frankfurt, has overtaken Heathrow in terms of passenger numbers.

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: ‘Britain’s economic recovery is falling behind.

‘Heathrow’s traffic figures for August demonstrate the extent to which quarantine is strangling the economy, cutting British businesses off from their international markets and blocking international students, tourists and investors from coming here to spend money.

‘The Government has announced it is looking at the options for reducing quarantine for passengers who test negative for Covid-19 but ministers urgently need to turn words into action. Every day of further Government delay costs British jobs and livelihoods.’

‘The rate of positives per test has actually gone down,’ one senior source said.

The Government also announced on Thursday that Sweden has been added to the ‘safe’ travel list.

The new air bridge will come into force at 4am on September 12 after the Scandinavian nation saw a drop in cases – despite not enforcing a lockdown. 

Stockholm’s strategy of ‘herd immunity’ – once backed by Downing Street – to allow the disease to spread through the population, was criticised as reckless but new data increasingly vindicates the decision. 

Sweden currently has 13 patients in intensive care, by comparison the United Kingdom has 843 patients in hospital, 80 of them on ventilators.

Furthermore, Sweden has had an average of just one death per day for the last 10, compared to 9.3 fatalities each day in the UK over the same period.

Announcing the changes on Twitter yesterday, Mr Shapps said: ‘Data shows we need to remove PORTUGAL (minus the AZORES and MADEIRA), HUNGARY, FRENCH POLYNESIA and REUNION from the Travel Corridor list to keep everyone safe. 

‘If you arrive in England from these destinations after 4am Saturday, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days.  

‘Through enhanced data we now have the capability to assess islands separate to their mainland countries. If you arrive in England from the AZORES or MADEIRA, you will NOT need to self-isolate for 14 days. 

‘This week, SWEDEN has been ADDED to the Travel Corridors list. If you arrive In England from Sweden, you will NOT need to self-isolate for 14 days.’  

Mr Shapps added that all travellers returning to the UK must now complete a Passenger Locator Form to ‘protect public health’ and ensure self-isolation rules. 

‘It is a criminal offence not to complete the form and spot checks will be taking place,’ he said.  

It comes after the Portuguese government today agreed tougher infection control restrictions against the coronavirus ahead of the start of the school year. 

Ministers agreed on new rules which will come into force next week, including limiting gatherings to 10 people rather than 20 previously – a cap already in force in the capital Lisbon since late June.

Sales of alcohol will also be banned from 8pm onwards alongside drinking in public places. Meanwhile, sporting venues will remain closed to fans ahead of the football championship kicking off next week.

‘We’ve been seeing a sustained rise in the number of new cases since the beginning of August,’ Prime Minister Antonio Costa said.

But most new cases were among asymptomatic people aged 20 to 39, Costa added.

He urged companies to allow for remote working or other infection control moves wherever possible. 

Downing Street also announced yesterday that Sweden has been added to the travel corridors list, after its seven-day case rate fell to 11.6 per 100,000 people. Pictured: Stockholm

Downing Street also announced yesterday that Sweden has been added to the travel corridors list, after its seven-day case rate fell to 11.6 per 100,000 people. Pictured: Stockholm

Destinations with no self-quarantine requirement on arrival in England, Scotland and Wales

Countries, territories and regions with no self-isolation requirement on arrival in England:    

  • Akrotiri and Dhekelia
  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • the Azores
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba
  • British Antarctic Territory
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Brunei
  • Cayman Islands
  • the Channel Islands
  • Cuba 
  • Curaçao
  • Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • Dominica
  • Estonia
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Fiji
  • Finland 
  • Gibraltar
  • Germany
  • Greece (except the islands of Crete, Lesvos, Mykonos, Santorini, Serifos, Tinos and Zakynthos – if you arrive in England from any of these islands after 4am 9 September 2020 you will need to self-isolate)
  • Greenland
  • Grenada
  • Guadeloupe
  • Hong Kong 
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • the Isle of Man
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Macao (Macau)
  • Madeira
  • Malaysia
  • Mauritius
  • Montserrat
  • New Caledonia
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
  • Poland  
  • San Marino
  • Seychelles
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Korea
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  • St Barthélemy
  • St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Pierre and Miquelon
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Sweden 
  • Taiwan
  • Turkey
  • Vatican City State
  • Vietnam

Countries, territories and regions with no self-isolation requirement on arrival in Scotland:    

  • Antigua and Barbuda 
  • Australia 
  • ​​​Barbados 
  • Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Brunei 
  • Cuba 
  • Curaçao 
  • Cyprus 
  • ​​​​​Denmark 
  • Dominica
  • Estonia
  • ​​​​Faroe Islands 
  • Fiji 
  • Finland  
  • Germany 
  • Greenland 
  • Grenada 
  • Guadeloupe
  • ​​Hong Kong 
  • Hungary 
  • Iceland
  • Italy 
  • Japan 
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein 
  • Lithuania
  • ​​Macau 
  • Malaysia 
  • Mauritius 
  • New Caledonia 
  • New Zealand 
  • Norway 
  • Poland  
  • Réunion 
  • San Marino 
  • Seychelles 
  • Slovakia 
  • Slovenia 
  • St Barthélemy 
  • St Kitts & Nevis  
  • St Lucia 
  • St Pierre and Miquelon 
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines 
  • South Korea 
  • Taiwan 
  • Turkey 
  • Vatican City State 
  • Vietnam 

Countries, territories and regions with no self-isolation requirement on arrival in Wales:   

  • Akrotiri and Dhekelia 
  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda 
  • Australia 
  • Barbados 
  • Bermuda
  • Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba
  • British Antarctic Territory
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Brunei 
  • Cayman Islands
  • Channel Islands 
  • Cuba 
  • Curaçao
  • Cyprus 
  • Denmark
  • Dominica
  • Estonia 
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Fiji
  • Finland 
  • Germany 
  • Greece  
  • Greenland
  • Grenada
  • Guadeloupe
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • the Isle of Man
  • Italy 
  • Japan
  • Latvia 
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania 
  • Macao (Macau)
  • Malaysia  
  • Mauritius 
  • Montserrat 
  • New Caledonia
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
  • Poland 
  • Reunion
  • San Marino 
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore 
  • Slovakia 
  • Slovenia 
  • South Korea
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands 
  • St Barthélemy
  • St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Pierre and Miquelon
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines 
  • Taiwan  
  • Turkey  
  • Vatican City State
  • Vietnam

 

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