Updated: Portugal allows visitors to use lateral flow Covid-19 tests

Visitors to Portugal from the UK, EU and Schengen area will no longer need to take a mandatory PCR test on arrival.

Algarve Tourism announced that travellers can now use lateral flow tests as proof that they don’t have Covid-19. But these tests must be undertaken by a company approved by the EU, so self-administered lateral flow tests offered free to UK residents on the NHS do not qualify.

Lateral flow tests must be carried out within 24 hours of boarding a flight to Portugal, whereas PCR tests can be done up to 72 hours in advance of flights.

The changes, signed off by the Council of Ministers, take place with immediate effect.

Portugal was the only major tourist destination added to the UK’s first green list in April, but has since been moved to the amber list, meaning those arriving into the UK from Portugal have to self-isolate at home for ten days.

A review of the traffic light lists is expected towards the end of June.

João Fernandes, president of Algarve Tourism, said: “This will significantly lower the cost of travelling to the Algarve. In the meantime, we continue to implement strict social distancing measures and health and safety operating procedures to keep both tourists and residents safe.”

*This article was updated on June 15 to explain that the lateral flow tests offered free by the UK government do not meet the criteria for entry into Portugal. 

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