Photos: Britons rush to Gatwick from Portugal within deadline Brighton News

THESE images show hundreds of people disembarking at Gatwick after rushing to leave Portugal before the new coronavirus quarantine rules come into force.

People from across the country rushed to West Sussex Airport in time to avoid isolating themselves at their homes for 10 days yesterday.

The rush was caused by the government’s controversial decision to remove Portugal from its green travel list.

This meant that Britons abroad were forced to return home earlier to exceed the deadline and avoid the extended stay at home.

A total of thirty-nine flights were due to leave Faro Airport in the Algarve for the UK on Monday, as thousands rushed home.

Many vacationers and travel agencies expressed their anger when the announcement about Portugal was made last Thursday, as it came just 17 days after the ban on international leisure travel was lifted.

Alan and Lisa Pechey, from Cambridge, who were on holiday in Lisbon, paid a total of £ 800 to get back to Gatwick on Monday, ahead of schedule.

Ms Pechey, 66, said: ‘It was really expensive and I think the government was totally unfair to throw this on us on Thursday because it really ruined our vacation, totally.

The Argus: the Sussex families returned from Portugal yesterday Yesterday, Sussex families returned from Portugal

“We had flown on Monday for a relaxing break, but from Thursday we were under extreme stress.”

Ana Pacheco, 28, from Islington, north London, who was on vacation near Porto, paid £ 300 for her flight home.

She said: ‘I lost money on this trip, around £ 300 more, because I was due back tomorrow night so it’s pretty boring.

“I think there should have been some extra time so we could get home – at least a week would have been better.”

The Argus: those who return will have to self-isolate for ten days Those who return will have to isolate themselves for ten days

Marcus Gardner, 26, from Battersea, south London, who flew to Gatwick from Porto, said: “Our flight was much busier than before – going there, only a few people were on the plane but on the return it was at full capacity.

“Lots of people were rushing home and at the airport there were lots of people waiting for a flight.”

Rory Boland, editor-in-chief of the consumer magazine Which? Travel, said: “Passengers trying to leave Portugal before the quarantine requirements go into effect will wonder why more notice has not been given, such as the use of the green watch list, to prevent tens of thousands of people scrambling to get home.

“Between the sold-out flights, the high fares and the difficulty in getting tests on time, it is clear that the government’s current approach to managing the evolving travel situation is flawed.

“These issues need to be addressed before the next Green List review, to avoid another disastrous summer for travel.”

The Transport Ministry said the situation in Portugal “required swift action to protect the gains made with the deployment of the vaccine”.

He said Portugal’s coronavirus test positivity rate had nearly doubled since travel lists were first created four weeks earlier.

The DfT added that 68 cases of the Indian mutation, also known as the Delta variant, have been identified in Portugal.

Separate figures from Test and Trace show that 200 arrivals from Portugal were tested between May 6 and May 19.

Three of those people have tested positive for the coronavirus.

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This notice was published: 2021-06-08 15:00:00

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