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Health

Britain removes Portugal from quarantine list, adds Austria and Croatia

LONDON/LISBON (Reuters) - Britain removed Portugal from its COVID-19 quarantine list on Thursday, but said rising infections elsewhere meant travellers arriving from Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago would have to quarantine themselves for two weeks.

FILE PHOTO: A man jumps into the water at Carcavelos beach, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, near Lisbon, Portugal, July 11, 2020. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

Transport minister Grant Shapps announced the changes on Twitter - the latest in a series of adjustments on quarantine policy as Britain tries to prevent importing new infections from hotspots overseas.

“Data ... shows we can now add Portugal to those countries INCLUDED in Travel Corridors,” he said.

Shapps said Britain’s whole travel policy was constantly under review and could change quickly, warning that people should only travel if they were content to quarantine themselves should the rules change during their holiday.

Emphasising that point, he also announced Croatia, Austria and Trinidad & Tobago were being added to the quarantine list, and incoming passengers would need to self-isolate for 14-days after they arrive, starting from 0300 GMT on Saturday.

Portugal, a popular tourist destination for Britons, has previously expressed frustration that Britain had refused to drop its quarantine requirements, something which has hit the tourism-dependent economy hard.

Britain’s own tourism and airline industry has also been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with other favourite holiday destinations France and Spain already subject to quarantine requirements in the peak of the holiday season.

Portugal’s foreign ministry reacted to the decision on Twitter, saying: “It is good news indeed.”

“This decision is proof of the good outcome of intense bilateral work. It allowed for an understanding that the situation in the country has always been under control.”

New cases in Portugal have been gradually falling since the beginning of July, but remain in the several hundreds per day, with 291 new cases and 2 deaths reported on Thursday.

Reporting by William James in London and Victoria Waldersee in Lisbon; editing by Stephen Addison

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