Portugal has defended its record in tackling Covid-19 after doubts were cast over an immediate air bridge when UK quarantine restrictions are relaxed on July 6.

Concerns were raised over the country’s inclusion as a ‘Covid safe’ nation as part of a traffic light scheme to be introduced by the UK government to allow travel without 14-day isolation from July 6.

The list of quarantine-free destinations is due to be released on Wednesday with a spike in infections around Lisbon reportedly causing concern.

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Portugal, which reopens the majority of the country from a ‘state of calamity’ on July 1, insisted it was “appropriately prepared so that the resumption of activity can generate maximum confidence in visitors and tourists, fulfilling all hygiene and safety conditions”.

The Portugal Tourism Board confirmed it was recently “considered essential” to apply some contingency rules on the outskirts of Lisbon.

“However, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, health services, gas stations and sportsequipment maintain normal opening hours. The same applies to all museums, cultural facilities, etc. There is also no limitation on the movement of residents or tourists and all transport is fully operational. There is no situation of closure or quarantine in Lisbon,” the tourism authority said.

“The application of these rules is part of the procedures that Portugal has taken since the beginning of the crisis, which has allowed for exemplary control over the progress of the pandemic and has resulted in international praise.

“These measures also allow all tourist and cultural facilities to be open and functioning in full, ensuring the necessary security of those who wish to visit the Lisbon region.

“Other popular tourist regions in Portugal such as the Algarve, Madeira, Porto and northern region, continue their path of continuous reduction of cases. Other regions such as the Azores, Alentejo and centre region are already being increasingly sought after by national and foreign tourists.”

More than 17,000 tourism businesses have signed up to the country’s ‘Clean & Safe’ seal and Portugal was the first European destination to be declared ‘TravelSafe’ by the World Travel & Tourism Council.

“The reopening of airlines between Portugal and several European destinations is underway,” the tourism board added.

“In the short term, a 45% recovery of air routes is expected in July and around 60% in August, with all equipment, activities, and companies in the sector open and prepared toreceive visitors and tourists.”

MoreMadeira to pay for Covid-19 tests on arrival

Portugal launches Covid-19 hygiene certification