British tourists rush back from Portugal to escape quarantine
LISBON — Holidaymakers who flew from Britain to Portugal after restrictions were relaxed three weeks ago are rushing home to escape renewed quarantine requirements on returning travelers, angering people in the tourism-heavy economy.
“I was supposed to come back on Wednesday, so I had to move it a little bit earlier to avoid the quarantine,” said Lisa Keenan, on her way to the departures area of Lisbon airport.
The 30-something health worker said she had to spend £150 (174 euros) to change her booking on the return flight to Luton, north of London.
Brits have stepped up their return schedules as from Tuesday those arriving from Portugal will be required to quarantine.
Queues developed at the airport in Faro in the southern Algarve region beloved of British tourists.
The head of the regional tourism association said 10,000 UK tourists left on Saturday alone — although 2,500 decided not to change their flights.
Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Sunday that Britain’s decision was “not justified” and had caused “serious harm” to both British tourists and his country’s economy.
It was “disastrous for Portuguese tourism, especially at the moment when the sector was picking up again”, the national tourism confederation said in a statement.
Portugal had on May 17 become the only EU country on Britain’s “green list” of countries where returning travellers were exempt from quarantine.
More than 12,000 football supporters used the opening to travel to northern city Porto on May 29 for the Champions League final, in which Chelsea beat Manchester City 1-0.
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