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Holidaymakers could be able to visit Portugal from the 'middle of May'

A hotel complex in Vilamoura, Portugal

Holidaymakers could be able to visit Portugal from the “middle of May”, the nation’s ambassador to the UK has said.

Asked when Portugal will be opening its borders to tourists from the UK, Manuel Lobo Antunes told Sky News: “As soon as possible, this is not just a unilateral matter, we have to coordinate this issue with our British friends and the UK Government.

“But we are hopeful, as we have been saying for these last months, that from the middle of May, regular mobility between the UK and Portugal and vice versa, can be established, that’s our hope.”

Asked if Britons who have not been vaccinated can travel into the country, he added: “Yes, that’s the idea, that’s what we wanted, to as much as possible go back to the regime that existed before the pandemic.

“It’s in that direction we are working and that is possible.”

Domestic coronavirus statistics “look good” to enable the resumption of foreign holidays next month, according to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

Overseas leisure travel could resume for people in England on May 17 under Boris Johnson’s road map for easing restrictions.

Mr Shapps told Sky News: “I have to say that so far the data does continue to look good from a UK perspective, notwithstanding those concerns about where people might be travelling to and making sure we’re protected from the disease being reimported.”

He added he will set out which countries fall into the “green”, “amber” and “red” categories under the new risk-based traffic light system “towards the beginning of May”.

That will determine what testing and quarantine requirements travellers will face when they return from various destinations.

In terms of the categorisation of Spain, the most popular foreign holiday destination for UK tourists, Mr Shapps told Times Radio: “Spain specifically, I’m afraid I just don’t have the answer to that because the Joint Biosecurity Centre will need to come up with their assessment and we can’t do that until a bit nearer the time.

“So we will need to wait and see.”

Mr Shapps also said the NHS app is being worked on to become a health certificate for international travel.

He told Sky News: “In terms of vaccine certification, I can confirm we are working on an NHS application, actually it will be the NHS app that is used for people when they book appointments with the NHS and so on, to be able to show you’ve had a vaccine or you’ve had testing.

“I’m working internationally with partners across the world to make sure that system can be internationally recognised, as that’s the way forward.

“Actually, I’m chairing a meeting of the G7 secretaries of state for transport, my equivalents from America and Canada and all the G7 countries, next week on exactly this subject.”

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