Ryanair issued this statement:
Ryanair condemned the decision by the UK Government of Boris Johnson to move Portugal to the Amber Travel List (from Green), since this decision has no basis in public health or medical science.
This bizarre decision now requires vaccinated UK citizens returning from Portugal to quarantine for 14 days, despite the fact that 75% of UK adults have now received a Covid vaccine. Vaccine rates in Portugal are rapidly catching up with UK levels, with over 40% of Portugal’s adults having now received a Covid vaccine.
The decision to move Portugal from the Green to Amber list has also no basis in medical or public health when Covid infection rates in Portugal are also identical to UK rates (at just 50 cases per 100,000). Covid case rates in Portugal are declining, as they are in the UK, thanks to the successful rollout of the Covid vaccines. Ryanair also condemned Transport Minister Grant Shapps failure to add other destinations to the UK Green List, such as Malta, which has now overtaken the UK with almost 80% of its population receiving a Covid vaccine, and Covid case rates in Malta are just 12 per 100,000 population, less than 25% of the rate in the UK.
Ryanair also called for other Islands, such as the Balearics and the Canaries, to be immediately added to the UK Green List, when their Covid case rates are running at approx. 30 per 100,000, are considerably lower than UK Covid case rates.
Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary said:
“Boris Johnson’s Government is again mismanaging the Covid recovery. This stop-go-stop approach to short haul travel in Europe is inexplicable and unjustified when 75% of the UK population has now received a Covid vaccine. There is no medical or public health reason for moving Portugal from the Green to the Amber List, when its Covid case rates are as low as the UK at just 50 per 100,000 population, and Portugal’s vaccine rollout program has exceeded 40% and is rapidly catching up with UK levels.
UK citizens who have already booked travel to Portugal deserve an explanation why vaccinated UK citizens are required to quarantine when returning from a country which has similarly low Covid case rates as the UK. Transport Minister Shapps should also explain why those countries such as Malta, or Islands such as the Balearics and the Canaries, who have significantly lower Covid case rates than the UK, have not been added to the UK Green List to allow UK families a well-earned holiday in June, July and August, particularly when those UK families have already been vaccinated.
This is sadly further evidence that the Johnson Government just makes it up as they go along, and this stop-go-stop approach to international travel is damaging for the UK and for millions of UK families. Ryanair calls today on Boris Johnson and Grant Shapps to immediately return Portugal to the Green List, and add those other low risk destinations such as Malta, the Balearics and the Canary Islands, so that British families can plan their holidays for Summer 2021 without being repeatedly disrupted and mismanaged by Boris Johnson and his chaotic Government Administration.”