British tourists scramble to get home from Portugal as Heathrow Airport boss fears "another lost summer".

The Portuguese government has questioned the UK decision to remove it from the travel green list from next Tuesday, the BBC reports.

The move to the amber list means UK tourists should not visit the country and returnees must isolate for 10 days.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps cited rising cases and a Covid mutation found in Portugal, saying ministers did not want to take risks before the planned final easing of England's restrictions.

But Portugal said it could not understand the "logic" of the move.

A post from the Twitter account of Portugal's Cabinet of Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said: "Portugal continues to carry out its prudent and gradual de-confinement plan, with clear rules for the safety of those who live here and those who visit us."

The Department for Transport said 68 cases of the Delta variant have been identified in Portugal, including cases with an additional, potentially detrimental mutation, being referred to as the Nepal mutation.

The Nepal Variant arrived in the nick of time for ‘the science’, which has been searching for any excuse to keep the pandemic emergency going. No doubt there will be a couple more along shortly. Like London buses, Covid variants hunt in packs... I’ve been warning you for months not to bet your mortgage on all restrictions being lifted on June 21. Boris might be making all the right noises, but when push comes to shove he will defer to ‘the science’.

Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail, June 4th 2021.

In the first review of England's traffic light list for international travel, no new destinations were added to the green list, where travellers must be tested but do not have to quarantine on their return.

Seven countries - Afghanistan, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Trinidad and Tobago - will be added to the red list.

The travel industry has also criticised the change, saying it will threaten jobs and consumer confidence - with the boss of Heathrow Airport warning the sector faces "another lost summer".

The UK government said the decision to move Portugal, including Madeira and the Azores, to the amber list followed increased concern about a mutation of the Delta variant, which was first identified in India.

Public Health England (PHE) told the BBC the mutation of the variant was present in multiple countries, including a small number of cases in the UK.

It is investigating the mutation to better understand whether it could be more transmissible and less effectively tackled by vaccines.

The number of positive Covid cases in Portugal has also nearly doubled since the last review, the department said, adding the situation "has required swift action to protect the gains made with the [UK] vaccine rollout".

Image: By Mister No, CC BY 3.0,

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