Portugal: travel plans for UK tourists and football fans in doubt as country extends lockdown

The Portuguese Government has announced that its ‘state of calamity’ will be extended until at least the end of the month

British holidaymakers hoping to jet off to Portugal as soon as UK travel restrictions lift are facing uncertainty after the nation’s government decided to extend its “state of calamity” until at least May 30.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Tuesday that as of May 17 the “stay in the UK” restriction will be lifted, meaning people will be able to go to green list countries, which includes Portugal.

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But guidance published on the Portuguese Government’s website on Thursday stated that ministers had approved a move to continue the current level of lockdown.

The Portuguese Government stated that ministers have approved a move to continue the current level of lockdown (Photo: PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images)

‘No decision’ on lifting restrictions

Thousands of British football fans are hoping to travel to the city of Porto for the all-English Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea on May 29.

UEFA previously confirmed that 6,000 tickets would be made available to each of the finalists, with the final capacity limit at the Estadio do Dragao still to be fixed.

According to the BBC, Portuguese Cabinet office minister Mariana Vieira da Silva said in a briefing on Thursday she had “no information to give yet” when asked if restrictions on travel from the UK would soon be lifted.

“Work is going on and as soon as there is a decision it will be announced, but no decision was taken in this cabinet meeting,” she said.

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Fans would ‘arrive and leave on the same day’

Vieira da Silva said under current plans for the Champions League final, a series of restrictions to British fans would apply.

As well as the limit on ticket sales, fans will have to fly in on charter planes, arriving and leaving “on the same day”, the BBC said.

Vieira da Silva described the plans as “a bubble situation”, with fans passing through a separate zone at the airport and needing a negative coronavirus test before travelling.

Green list countries still have restrictions

Guidance from the Department of Transport warns that many green list countries still have restrictions on UK travellers.

It advises passengers to check all entry and testing requirements and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice for Portugal before booking travel.

It is understood the UK Government has been in discussion with Portuguese representatives this week to discuss plans to unlock travel between the two countries.

The Government is also in talks with the European Commission on how to safely reopen travel routes on the continent, according to the PA news agency.

‘State of calamity’

During the “state of calamity”, entry to Portugal is only allowed if you are a returning resident, according to information on the FCDO website.

Entry to non-residents is limited to essential purposes from the UK and other non-EU countries, and EU or European Economic Area countries where the case rate is above 150 cases per 100,000 residents.

“Essential purposes” are defined as travelling to live with immediate family members or professional, educational, health or humanitarian reasons.

To enter Portugal, proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure is required.

Those without proof of a negative test can be refused permission to board a flight, or may be forced to quarantine in government-approved accommodation upon arrival.

Additional reporting by PA.

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