They claimed the UK was in a worse position in it’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. This comes as Portugal is now facing the threat of being excluded from the UK’s “air bridge” plan. Eduardo Cabrita has said his country was “manifestly not where the risk is,” and people should “just compare the data” to verify that.
“We are, namely with the United Kingdom, highlighting that which is obvious: Portugal has better public health indicators and better pandemic response indicators than the United Kingdom,” he said.
“So there’s no reason, according to all the comparative criteria, for the existence of any application of quarantine rules on return to the United Kingdom.”
These comments were originally reported in the Portuguese newspaper, Diario de Nocticias.
They have come as Britain will prepare to announce up to 50 countries on Wednesday, that holidaymakers can fly from on July 6.
All of them potentially doing without the 14-day quarantine on their return.
Portugal along with Sweden are understood to be two of the nations in Europe currently judged by the UK’s Joint Biosecurity Centre to be potential “red category” countries.
This is the UK’s traffic light system that will clear green and amber-rated countries for quarantine-free travel.
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The controversy centres on an outbreak of coronavirus in and around Lisbon, forcing Portugal to re-impose a limited lockdown in 19 parishes and curb opening hours in the city with all but supermarkets, restaurants and service stations closing at 8 pm.
According to a Portuguese epidemiologist, the outbreak is limited to poorer parts of the city where tourists rarely go.
This apparently accounts for 85 per cent of the country’s 457 new cases yesterday.
The third most popular destination in Europe for UK holidaymakers is the Algarve.
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They reportedly only have a small fraction of the cases.
Southern Portugal has recorded just 612 cases since the start of the pandemic, and only 91 in the past week.
No Covid-19 patients have died there for nearly two months.
Francisco Calheiros, Portuguese Tourism Confederation president spoke to The Daily Telegraph and said: “Algarve and Madeira are two places that Covid-19 is with a low expression, so I could not believe [reports of Portugal’s possible exclusion].”
He said he came away from two meetings with the British Ambassador to Portugal at the end of last week feeling positive, after being told Anglo-Portuguese expert meetings “went rather well.”
“I cannot foresee a summer without British people and so I’m hoping that everything runs very well,” he said, underlining that it was critical to “not lose the idea that the right place for British to come on holidays in Portugal.”
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