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Madeira: Portugal’s Atlantic outpost is ready to wow us this winter – there’s even a Ronaldo Museum

We know tourist boards are introducing a range of emergency measures. But they’re also coming up with emergency slogans. Madeira’s is ‘Safe to Discover’.

Clever, that. Flatter the visitor that they are the intrepid types, yet reassure them that the island (actually, an archipelago of islands) is as COVID-free as any holiday destination.

Which it is. On Madeira there have only been two deaths from the virus. Days go by without any new cases. No wonder it’s on the UK’s foreign travel corridor list.

Lush: The Daily Mail’s Mark Jones spent an action-packed week in Madeira before the current UK lockdown. Pictured is the fishing village of Camara de Lobos

If there are a handful of new cases, they’re usually incoming tourists. If you test positive at the airport they check you in (at the government’s expense) at a four-star hotel near the hospital until you get the all‑clear a week or 14 days later.

It’s probably wisest to get tested within 72 hours of arrival. But that can be expensive and inconvenient. So I was one of 20 people from my BA flight — shortly before the current lockdown — who opted for the airport test.

After immigration, nice young people in T-shirts and jeans guided us to the testing channel. They gave us a free banana and bottle of water while we waited, the warm ocean breeze wafting tantalisingly into the arrivals hall. But I was free within minutes: my wait for the test was shorter than some I’ve spent at the luggage carousel.

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