On Thursday Portugal was taken off the government’s green list, which left furious Brits trying to get flights back to the UK.
Thousands of Brits are already in Portugal on holiday and will now have to return back to the UK before 4am next Tuesday, or they will have to pay £120 for two PCR tests per person and will be forced to quarantine for 10 days.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick told Sky News that the decision to remove Portugal was made to protect the UK as the Nepal variant was discovered.
Jenrick said, “Firstly, the amount of positivity has increased significantly, it’s doubled in the last three weeks to a level that’s much higher than we have here in the UK.
“Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, although both countries have prevalence of the Indian variant or Delta variant as it’s called, we’re also seeing in Portugal now growing evidence of a further mutation being called the Nepal variant.
“We don’t yet know how much of a problem that is, how transmissibility is, whether it might be too difficult even for our vaccines.
“But it’s important that we take a cautious approach, and so we take action now whilst we do research and learn more about that variant.”
The new Nepal variant of Covid is believed to have originated in Nepal which borders China, the Daily Mail reported on Thursday.
As of 31 May the number of Brits who had travelled back from Portugal stood at 108,887. That leaves the 112,177 currently stuck there.
Conrad Poulson, chief executive officer at Huq Industries said, “Assuming the largest capacity Boeing 737 or equivalent can carry around 230 people that equates to around 487 flights to get every one of the remaining 112,177 people home.”