Portugal surpasses UK threshold for quarantine – a week after being added to ‘safe list’

Portugal could be added to the UK’s quarantine list due to a rise in coronavirus cases – a week after it was removed.

There were 21.1 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people in Portugal for the seven days to 30 August, up from 19.4 for the week up to 29 August, Press Association news agency figures show.

Any country that has a seven-day coronavirus infection rate of 20 or more cases per 100,000 people is at risk of being added to the list – which means anyone returning from the UK has to self-isolate for two weeks after they land.

Ministers also take into account trends in case numbers, deaths, countries’ testing capacities and whether any increase in infections is down to a contained outbreak or general transmission.

The UK had a seven-day infection rate of 12.2 for the week ending 30 August, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Portugal was only added to Britain’s “safe list” on 22 August – after cases fell below the threshold.

Internet searches for Portuguese holidays spiked by more than 2,000% after the government announced Britons returning from the country would no longer have to quarantine for 14 days.

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EasyJet flights between London and Portugal were fully booked on Saturday and Sunday, the airline said.

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Jet2 has added extra seats on its UK routes to Faro from today.

But the increase in Portuguese cases could see another race to get home after Britons scrambled to get back from Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago before a 14-day quarantine was imposed at 4am on 29 August.

Passengers reported paying hundreds of pounds extra to avoid two weeks of isolation.