THESE pictures show hundreds of people landing in Gatwick after scrambling to leave Portugal before new coronavirus quarantine rules come into force.

People from across the country dashed back to the West Sussex airport in time to avoid self-isolating at home for 10 days yesterday.

The rush was caused by the Government’s controversial decision to remove Portugal from its green travel list.

It meant Brits abroad were forced to travel home early to beat the deadline and avoid the prolonged stay at home.

A total of thirty-nine flights were scheduled to depart from Faro Airport in the Algarve for the UK on Monday, as thousands rushed home.

Many holidaymakers and travel firms expressed anger when the announcement on Portugal was made last Thursday, as it came just 17 days after the ban on international leisure travel was lifted.

Alan and Lisa Pechey, from Cambridge, who were on holiday in Lisbon, paid a total of £800 to fly back to Gatwick on Monday, earlier than planned.

Mrs Pechey, 66, said: “It was really expensive and I think the Government was totally unfair to throw that at us on Thursday because it really spoiled our holiday, totally.

The Argus: Sussex families rushed back from Portugal yesterday Sussex families rushed back from Portugal yesterday

“We had flown out on Monday for a relaxing break, but from Thursday onwards we were under extreme stress.”

Ana Pacheco, 28, from Islington, north London, who was on holiday near Porto, paid £300 for her flight home.

She said: “I lost money on this trip, about £300 extra, because I was due to come back tomorrow evening, so it is quite annoying.

“I think there should have been extra time added on for us to get home – at least a week would have been better.”

The Argus: Those returning will have to self-isolate for ten days Those returning will have to self-isolate for ten days

Marcus Gardner, 26, from Battersea, south London, who flew to Gatwick from Porto, said: “Our flight was much busier than before – going there only a few people were on the plane but coming back it was full capacity.

“A lot of people were rushing to get home and at the airport there were loads of people waiting for a flight.”

Rory Boland, editor of consumer magazine Which? Travel, said: “Passengers trying to leave Portugal before quarantine requirements come into effect will be wondering why more notice wasn’t given, such as making use of the green watch list, to prevent tens of thousands of people now scrambling to get home.

“Between flights selling out, expensive fares, and difficulties obtaining tests in time, it’s clear the Government’s current approach to managing the changing situation around travel is flawed.

“These issues must be addressed before the next green list review, to prevent another disastrous summer for travel.”

The Department for Transport said the situation in Portugal “required swift action to protect the gains made with the vaccine rollout”.

It stated that the positivity rate for coronavirus tests in Portugal had nearly doubled since the travel lists were first created four weeks earlier.

The DfT added that 68 cases of the Indian mutation, which is also known as the Delta variant, have been identified in Portugal.

Separate Test and Trace figures show 200 arrivals from Portugal were tested between May 6 and May 19.

Three of those people tested positive for coronavirus.