Correspondent in Lisbon
The spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus reaches such a dimension in Portugal that the plans for deconfinity have been blown up and the socialist government of Antonio Costa is taking steps back in its desperate attempt to stop the rebound. Although the cases have multiplied, the incidence of the virus affects mainly the youngest sections of the population, so that the spread of the virus does not translate into higher hospital pressure or in a higher number of deaths.
Only the archipelagos of Azores and Madeira remain outside the situation of mainland Portugal, who has seen how contagions grew in the Lisbon region, in the outskirts of Porto and on the Algarve fringe. As things are, no one can be surprised that the Portuguese Ministry of Health has decided to recover some restrictions like curfew, restaurants closed at 3.30pm on weekends or the prohibition of leaving and entering the metropolitan area of Lisbon on Fridays from 3:00 p.m. and also on Saturdays and Sundays. To this package of measures we must also add the return to the ‘state of calamity’, a symptom that the long-awaited ‘normality’ does not finish arriving.
Since last May 1, the land borders between the two countries have regained the freedom they sorely missed and, today, there is no precondition for jumping from one side to the other, that is, PCR is not required. They do ask for it, instead, by air or, failing that, the vaccination certificate.
Nothing to do, therefore, with the restrictions in force for passengers from France or the United Kingdom, that recommend their citizens not to move to Portugal as a precautionary measure, something that did not sit well with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It so happens that the city of Albufeira, the Algarve resort, is experiencing a difficult epidemiological situation due to the spread of the Delta strain originating in India. The incidence of the virus soared last weekend up to 823 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, an exorbitant rate.
These worrying figures prompted the Minister of the Presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva, to sentence earlier this week: “The epidemiological situation is out of control.” The increase in infections forced the Algarve health authorities to suspend school activities in the final stretch of the course. “We have to cut these transmission chains and that is why it is better for the students to stay at home. Otherwise, the situation may worsen, “said Ana Cristina Guerreiro, Government Delegate for Health.
It is true that the general health panorama of the neighboring country It is not as black as in the months of January and February, But the president of the Faro Biomedical Center, Nuno Marques, warns that “even when vaccinated, there are habits such as physical safety distance, the mask or frequent hand hygiene that have come to stay in our society.”
By road, the sense of reciprocity is in force in every rule and no health document is required to enter Spain from Portugal. On the contrary, the official certificate will be required if you intend to travel on board an airplane.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism