Portugal holidays may NOT go ahead as country faces air-bridge snub – and coronavirus cases rise

BRITS wanting to head to Lisbon or the Algarve next month may be left disappointed as Portugal faces being left OFF the air bridge list.

The UK is expected to announce a number of air bridges with countries in Europe this week to allow quarantine-free travel for holidaymakers.

The air bridge scheme – which would allow tourists to skip the 14-day quarantine – is considering countries such as Spain, France, Italy and Greece.

Industry sources predict Brits will be able to start flying abroad from July 4 and the list is likely to include up to 50 nations.

Portugal, however, has not been mentioned on the potential list.

While overall cases have remained relatively low in Portugal compared to its neighbour Spain, – a comparison of 40,415 to 294,566, respectively – the country's cases are still a cause for concern.

A coronavirus spike has also been reported across Lisbon, leading to a lockdown in 19 neighbourhoods across the city.

People in several parts of Lisbon will now have to go back to staying at home from next week and will only be allowed to leave home to buy essential goods such as food or medication, and to travel to and from work.

The measure will be in place from June 29 until July 12 and it will then be reviewed, according to a government document.

Thursday's announcement came after the government introduced restrictions on Tuesday that included an order for most commercial spaces in Greater Lisbon, excluding restaurants, to shut at 8pm each day, which gatherings have been reduced from 20 people to just 10.

Earlier this week, 90 people tested positive for the virus after attending an illegal party in the Algarve.

Portugal has been keen to invite British tourists back as soon as possible – tour operators have slashed prices and the quarantine was to potentially be lifted for UK travellers.

However, if the UK doesn't end the quarantine for Portugal, the country may offer the same restrictions.

"Naturally, if the current situation doesn’t change, Portugal reserves the right to apply the principle of reciprocity,” the ministry said in a statement.

Local media have called the shunning of travel agreements a "blow to tourist authorities" who have been encouraging tourists that the region is safe.

Similar outbreaks have happened in Spain, prompting fears of a second wave just as British tourists return.

Last week, eager holidaymakers headed back to popular tourist resorts such as Benidorm and Malaga after the country lifted their 14-day quarantine restrictions.

However, an outbreak in Costa del Sol has seen 83 new cases, linked to the Malaga Red Cross.

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