Tens of thousands of British holidaymakers are facing a race to escape Portugal after the country was returned to the quarantine list.
The move will trigger another day of chaos as they rush to get home before the restrictions kick in at 4am tomorrow.
The cost of flights home soared to £600 within minutes of last night’s announcement, and British Airways laid on an extra service from Faro on the Algarve.
Many of the 35,000 Britons currently in Portugal will have no choice but to carry on with their holidays and self-isolate for 14 days on their return. Some may have to take unpaid sick leave and university students could miss the start of term.
The decision was taken after the number of cases in Portugal over seven days jumped to 28.3 per 100,000 people yesterday, over the Government’s threshold of 20.
The new restrictions do not apply to the Portuguese islands of Madeira and the Azores, where infection rates are lower than on the mainland.
Isabelle Brett , 20, had only arrived with her family in the Algarve on Monday to stay in a villa. Now, after scrambling to get last minute flights home before the quarantine comes in to place on Saturday morning, they will be cutting their holiday short by two days and flying back tonight
Portugal and Hungary have today been removed from the quarantine exemption list, meaning holidaymakers must rush home or face a two-week quarantine. Pictured: The Algarve
The decision was taken after the number of cases in Portugal over seven days jumped to 28.3 per 100,000 people yesterday, over the Government’s threshold of 20
Those arriving in England from two further countries must also now self-isolate for 14-days from 4am on Saturday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said. Pictured: Budapest
Isabelle Brett is among the British tourists who have had their holidays disrupted by the addition of Portugal to the quarantine list.
The 20-year-old had only arrived with her family in the Algarve on Monday to stay in a villa.
Now, after scrambling to get last minute flights home before the quarantine comes in to place on Saturday morning, they will be cutting their holiday short by two days and flying back tonight.
Miss Brett, from Little Canfield in Essex, starts a new job next week and would not have been able to quarantine for two weeks on her return.
She said it had been ‘very, very stressful’ trying to get back before the rule takes effect.
‘We were on the beach when we found out about the new regulations for us quarantining,’ she said. ‘Straight away we were on the phone to Jet2. We were on hold for approximately two hours.
‘When we finally got through we were told after looking on the systems that all flights where fully booked from Faro to anywhere in England and there was no way of getting back before having to quarantine.
‘I must admit it was a very, very stressful situation.
‘Eventually Jet2 said they had added another flight to help people who were struggling to get back and they booked us straight onto it for tomorrow at 7pm from Faro to Stansted.’
Miss Brett said the family thought they would be able to go on their week-long holiday to their house in Castro Marim without having to isolate once they returned to Essex.
‘Listening to the Government’s guidelines about how Portugal wasn’t going to go on the quarantine list we thought we would be safe, but we were a little sceptical,’ she said.
Meanwhile, Sweden, which did not impose a compulsory lockdown and chose a ‘herd immunity’ approach to tackling coronavirus, was removed from the UK’s quarantine list after its infection rate fell.
Hungary, French Polynesia and Reunion have also been added to Britain’s ‘red’ list of territories subject to quarantine.
Scotland and Wales had already added Portugal and French Polynesia to their quarantine list, but other changes announced yesterday apply to all four parts of the UK. Industry leaders told of their dismay at the latest decision, which comes three weeks after Portugal was removed from the quarantine list.
Travel consultant Paul Charles said: ‘The weekly review needs to be changed. They need to move the system to a traffic light system so that consumers are clearly-informed about ministers’ intentions and which countries are at risk. It would enable them to book trips with more certainty.’
It came as Home Office figures revealed officials have only managed to fine 34 people for breaching quarantine since the rules were introduced in June – despite the fact that two million people have arrived in the country since then.
Public Health England said it had made or sent 149,579 calls or text messages to passengers to check they were self-isolating at home. Some 64,800 people had confirmed they were self-isolating.
Portugal has seen a steady rise in cases since it was removed from the quarantine list three weeks ago, now reporting a total of 1,852 deaths amid 62,126 confirmed infections.
It saw 646 new cases of Covid-19 yesterday, the nation's highest figure since April.
Wales and Scotland had already imposed their own self-isolation rules on Portugal, with Nicola Sturgeon also recently mandating 14-day isolation for arrivals from Greece and Wales adding six Greek islands to its list.
Downing Street's switch-up of the quarantine exemption list comes after Mr Shapps last week insisted there would be no changes to English travel corridors.
Sources told MailOnline at the time that although Portugal was above the 'trigger' threshold for cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day period, that appeared to be because they were carrying out more tests.
'The rate of positives per test has actually gone down,' one senior source said.
The Government also announced yesterday that Sweden has been added to the 'safe' travel list.sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more
The new air bridge will come into force at 4am on September 12 after the Scandinavian nation saw a drop in cases - despite not enforcing a lockdown.
Stockholm's strategy of 'herd immunity' - once backed by Downing Street - to allow the disease to spread through the population, was criticised as reckless but new data increasingly vindicates the decision.
Portugal has seen a steady rise in cases since it was removed from the quarantine list on August 22, now reporting a total of 1,852 deaths amid 62,126 confirmed infections. Pictured: Arrivals at Heathrow
A travel corridor between Portugal and the UK had