Thousands of holidaymakers rush back from Portugal to beat quarantine deadline
By Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspondent
Thousands of UK tourists are scrambling to leave Portugal before new coronavirus quarantine rules come into force.
Thirty-nine flights are scheduled to depart from Faro Airport in the Algarve for the UK on Monday, nearly double the usual total.
Travellers must arrive in the UK before 4am on Tuesday or they will be required to self-isolate at home for 10 days.
This is due to the Government’s controversial decision to remove Portugal from its green travel list.
Tourists wanting to beat the deadline are being hit by a combination of many flights being sold out, and the handful of available seats being sold at inflated prices.
Ryanair is charging £285 for a flight from Faro to Bournemouth on Monday, but just £17 on Wednesday.
EasyJet flights from Faro to Gatwick are £227 on Monday and £53 on Tuesday.
Tourists in the Algarve have also reported difficulties obtaining the pre-departure tests required by the Government for people arriving in the UK.
Many holidaymakers and travel firms expressed anger when the announcement on Portugal was made last Thursday, as it came just 17 days after the ban on international leisure travel was lifted.
The Department for Transport said the situation in the country “required swift action to protect the gains made with the vaccine rollout”.
It stated that the positivity rate for coronavirus tests in Portugal had nearly doubled since the travel lists were first created four weeks earlier.
The DfT added that 68 cases of the Indian mutation, which is also known as the Delta variant, have been identified in Portugal.
Separate Test and Trace figures show 200 arrivals from Portugal were tested between May 6 and May 19.
Three of those people tested positive for coronavirus.