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UPDATE 1-Portugal 'regrets' England's decision to remove country from safe travel list

Thu, 10th Sep 2020 19:04

(Adds background, details)

By Catarina Demony

LISBON, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Portugal's foreign ministry said
on Thursday it regrets England's decision to reimpose a
quarantine regime for travellers from mainland Portugal, which
has hit the tourism-dependent country hard.

"We regret the British decision to exclude mainland Portugal
from the list of countries exempt from quarantine," the foreign
ministry said on Twitter. "But we value they kept Azores and
Madeira."

Anybody arriving in England from Portugal, excluding the
Azores and Madeira, after 4 a.m. on Saturday will need to
self-isolate for 14 days, British Transport Minister Grant
Shapps announced earlier on Thursday.

Portugal only spent three weeks off England's
self-quarantine isolation rule but a worrying rise in
coronavirus cases in the southern European nation forced
authorities to reimpose it.

Also on Twitter, Portugal's foreign ministry said the
country's "health rules and the effectiveness of our national
health service have allowed us to control the effects of the
pandemic".

Portugal, which has reported 62,126 cases so far, initially
won praise for its response to the pandemic but cases have crept
back up, with the health authority reporting on Thursday 585 new
infections, mainly in Greater Lisbon and the northern region.

From Sept. 15, the whole country will be put under a state
of contingency, meaning gatherings will be limited to 10 people
and commercial establishments must close between 8 and 11
p.m.

The tourism industry in Portugal's southern Algarve region,
a popular destination among British visitors, has been badly hit
by the quarantine rule, and many businesses there are struggling
to make ends meet.

Joao Fernandes, head of the Algarve's tourism authority,
told SIC Television, England's decision "will have a
considerable impact" on the region but said it was already
expected.
(Reporting by Catarina Demony, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and
Tom Brown)

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