Family fear they will be stuck in Portugal as hospital runs OUT of Covid tests they need to get back to the UK

A FAMILY are worried they will become stuck in Portugal after being turned away from a hospital that had run of out Covid tests.

Kits are in short supply as holidaymakers scramble for flights home before the country moves to the UK’s amber list in just a few days – with tourists needing proof of a negative result before being able to board the plane.

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Simon Smith fears he, his wife Gemma and two sons may become stuck in PortugalCredit: PA

Queues were starting to grow in Lisbon at 5am on Friday after the announcement

Queues were starting to grow in Lisbon at 5am on Friday after the announcementCredit: Twitter @CatarinaDemony

The government has sent thousands of people’s travel plans into chaos by making returning passengers self-isolate from 4am on Tuesday.

The sunny European country was on the green travel list – meaning Brits could freely fly for a holiday there without any need to quarantine

But it has now been plunged onto the amber list, sparking a mad dash of holidaymakers trying to get back.

One family is concerned they may not be able to leave in Portugal in time as they are struggling to get their hands on Covid tests – needed to provide a negative results before boarding a plane back to the UK.

Property developer Simon Smith from Stamford, Lincolnshire, is currently in the Lagos area with his wife and two young children.

He hoped to fly his family home this weekend, earlier than planned, but they have been unable to get tested despite visiting five medical centres and the region’s main hospital.

Mr Smith was turned away from one centre after it ran out of testing kits.

“There were about 35 people in the queue, all British, and they told us, ‘the first 15 are okay, but the rest of you might as well go home because we don’t have enough tests’,” he told PA.

He was told the airport has a small amount of Covid tests available, so the famly plans on turning up to their flight five hours early in the hopes of getting one.

Portugal has been put on the amber list, sparking a flurry of people trying to get home before Tuesday

Portugal has been put on the amber list, sparking a flurry of people trying to get home before TuesdayCredit: AFP

“If we can’t get that, we can’t fly”, he said. “I have meetings on Friday, I can’t afford 10 days’ quarantine, it is a joke.”

It comes as airlines are ramping up the cost of flights from Portugal as Brits rush to get back before 4am on Tuesday.

A seat on a Ryanair flight from the capital Lisbon to Manchester on Monday costs £339, whereas travel on the same route is available for just £75 on Wednesday.

British Airways is charging £348 for flights from Faro to London Heathrow on Sunday and Monday, but the price drops to £137 on Tuesday.

More than 112,000 Brits are currently in Portugal and travellers returning from there will be required to take a pre-departure PCR Covid test and provide a negative result.

They will then have to pay for a further two tests on days two and eight of their 10-day quarantine.

Brits can opt for private Covid test providers, which can cost between £120 and £300 per person – or slightly cheaper options are available from Boots and Superdrug.

It means a family four could be spending anywhere between £240 and £1,200 to fly home – plus parents potentially taking 10 days off work.


Portugal was this week relegated from its green status after ministers sounded the alarm about a worrying new “Nepal mutation” of the Indian variant detected in the holiday hotspot.

Confirming Britain’s “difficult but decisive decision” – first revealed by The Sun – Grant Shapps warned 68 cases of the Indian “Delta” variant had been identified in Portugal.

They include cases of the emerging Nepal mutation – and the minister said it was currently unclear if vaccines were effective against the strain.

The boss of Ryanair has slammed the government’s decision to move Portugal from the green list to the amber list, saying they were “making it up as they go along”.

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary told BBC Breakfast: “What upset us and most of the industry was that this decision to move Portugal from green to amber isn’t based on any science or public health.

“Portugal has vaccinated 40 per cent of adults [and] it has the same low Covid case rates of the UK – 50 per 100,000 people.”


Holidaymakers are now set to lose thousands of pounds in a “nightmare” scramble to get home from Portugal in time to avoid quarantine. 

Shelly Harron, 35, from County Armagh in Northern Ireland said she has lost at least £1,000 through changing flights, rebooking tests and paying for nights in a hotel that her family of five can no longer use. 

Shelly told the Sun: “I am so angry, so angry. We had looked forward to this holiday for months.”

Her family, who arrived in Albufeira on Wednesday, were “loving life,” before the reports began to emerge the next morning.

Shelly said: “We saw that Portugal might be added to the Amber list and I was horrified. I couldn’t understand it. 

“We had to scramble to get the flights changed and it’s been a nightmare especially because there’s only one flight to Belfast a day.”

Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of travel agent group Advantage Travel Partnership, said the decision in relation to Portugal was “an absolute devastating blow” for consumers and the industry.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It now throws confidence completely out of the window.”

“It puts the industry in a really difficult position and consumers in a difficult position in order to be able to plan effectively.”

Portugal is not the only country which moved on the traffic light rating system on Thursday – with the decision slammed as “unfair and completely inadequate”.

Afghanistan, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Sudan, and Trinidad and Tobago have also been placed on the red list, meaning people arriving in the UK from those nations must stay in a quarantine hotel for 11 nights.

Brits in Lisbon express frustration after Portugal moved from green list to amber under govt’s traffic light Covid travel system


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