How are new Portugal travel rules impacting people in Norfolk?

Joao Noronha and Carla Barreto, from Thetford, have seen their plans to travel to Portugal plunged into doubt

Joao Noronha and Carla Barreto, from Thetford, have seen their plans to travel to Portugal plunged into doubt - Credit: Archant/Carla Barreto

Members of one of Norfolk's biggest Portuguese communities say putting their homeland on the amber list has thrown their travel plans into chaos.

People in Thetford, which has a strong Portuguese contingent, fear they will not be able to fulfil work commitments or visit loved ones due to the new rules.

Thetford town centre. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

Thetford has a strong Portuguese community - Credit: Archant

Portugal's place on the amber list means arrivals in the UK must quarantine for 10 days.

British citizens must also take four Covid tests at their own expense - one before leaving the UK, one before leaving Portugal and two following their arrival back home. 

Among those whose plans have been disrupted is Thetford town councillor Carla Barreto, who had hoped to see loved ones for the first time in two years. 

"We bought tickets to go in July but obviously, with the changes, we don't know whether we can travel," said Mrs Barreto, 42. 

Carla Barreto, from Thetford, has seen her plans to travel to Portugal plunged into doubt

Carla Barreto, from Thetford, has seen her plans to travel to Portugal plunged into doubt - Credit: Carla Barreto

"My sister is getting married in August and we don't know if we'll make it. She has been preparing for two years and I am her only sister. 

"Because we run a charity, last year we decided to stay and help the community. We worked seven days a week to distribute food parcels. 

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"We were really looking forward to having a break because all that work takes its toll."

Mrs Barreto added that one of her friends had been stuck at a Portuguese airport at the weekend alongside thousands of Brits trying to get home. 

His situation was compounded by the airport and nearby health centres running out of Covid tests, she said.

The prospect of having to pay for so many tests is weighing heavy on the mind of Joao Noronha, who runs a Portuguese language newspaper from Thetford.

"Taking four tests is going to cost a lot of money and I am not sure people will still go to Portugal," he said.

Joao Noronha <cor>, editor of the Portuguese newspaper in Ashley House in Thetford which is to becom

Joao Noronha, who lives in Thetford, says he will have to "consider carefully" whether he travels to Portugal - Credit: Archant

"We normally go on holiday at the end of July, but we are family of six. It is something we will have to consider carefully. 

"There is nothing we can do, but we know it can change any day. What is not understandable is why Portugal came off the green list."

The government said Portugal was added to the amber list to guard against variants of the virus. 

Thetford town cente. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

Thetford has a strong Portuguese community - Credit: Archant


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