Portugal: Holidaymakers share experience of getting back to UK
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Due to fears over the spread of Covid, the UK government moved Portugal to the amber list – meaning those visiting had to take extra tests and self-isolate at home for 10 days once back in the country. This threw the holiday of Cheslyn Baker and her two friends into chaos, leaving them frustrated with the government upon their return to the country.
As reported by Leicestershire Live, the trio were visiting a friend’s holiday home in the southern Algarve and had heard rumours that Portugal’s travel status may be changing when they were about to board their departing flight.
Ms Baker said: “At last we could go out with a friend back to her home in the southern Algarve, after many months of lockdown.
“We thought it wouldn’t happen as cases there – especially in the Algarve – were so low, otherwise we wouldn’t have considered going in the first place.”
The three had been in Portugal for a couple of days when the news that Portugal was moving to the amber list was confirmed.
Ms Baker said that at first, tourists and Portuguese residents found the news funny – but this quickly turned to anger.
Once she returned to the UK, Ms Baker said she felt like a criminal as she was “locked up” at her Leicestershire home for 10 days.
She also had to pay what she called a “fine” to get three extra PCR tests, which came to a cost of about £300.
Ms Baker said: “To me it felt like we, as British citizens, had committed a crime.
“We were certainly receiving a hefty fine in costs of three further PCR tests and a prison sentence of 10 days in the form of self-isolation, plus daily check ups at random, not to mention visits by officials to make sure we were staying put.”
Those travelling back to England from amber list countries are required to show proof of orders and payments for tests yet to be taken on days two and eight of their isolation, as well as showing a negative Covid test certificate at the airport and filling out a Passenger Locator Form.
Ms Baker added: “Some of the measures, haphazard and unclear as they were, are understandable to prevent the spread of Covid. Other rules aren’t at all clear or understandable.
“Having to take so many costly negative PCR tests, then also to be put into 10 days’ isolation and ordered not to go outside anywhere at all during that time, even to walk the dog, seems illogical.
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“It all seems too draconian and far too punishing to UK citizens who have already more than proved, at great cost to themselves, that they are Covid free.
“The government should at least clarify in plain language the scientific reasons for prohibitive measures they take with travel.”
Additional reporting by Tom Mack.
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