The announcement from Grant Shapps last week regarding travel is a start, and with Portugal’s dependence on tourism, especially from the UK, a very welcome one.
Politicians and scientists don’t always agree (but you can easily find one that thinks your way) but banning people from traveling, restricting night life, as well as how many people can be in a bar or restaurant is causing enormous economic damage. It’s also not consistent, did you see how many people were at Wembley, shoulder to shoulder, no masks, no social distancing. The British Grand Prix at Silverstone next week will be full capacity, 140,000 spectators, but you can’t buy a beer at the local bar or only have a limited number of people at the table in the local restaurant.
Of course, it all depends on who you are. According to The Telegraph, “Michael Gove was able to avoid self isolation after being “pinged” by NHS Test & Trace, because Downing Street was selected as one of the organisations to join a Government pilot scheme”.
There are always exceptions, for the select few
“In May, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster was contacted by track and trace after he returned from a trip to Portugal to watch the Champions League Final. However, he was able to avoid isolation because he was one of 40,000 people who were included in a Daily Contact Testing Study”.
According to the Mail on Sunday, a Cabinet Office spokesman confirmed that No. 10 had signed up to the scheme and as a result Mr Gove was covered under that. Strange that few people knew about this ‘scheme’, obviously it was just for the select few.
Tourism in Portugal is being decimated
The damage being done to the tourism industry in Portugal, from the smallest bar to the largest hotel, is devastating. Perhaps politicians are beginning to realise that Covid is here to stay, it can be controlled by vaccines, but not everybody wants one. The use of masks helps, so does sensible behaviour such as respecting social distancing, is all positive, but it’s becoming very evident that you can’t completely stamp out Covid. It’s here to stay, and perhaps for a long time. Flu vaccines helped reduce deaths and hospitalisation, but the flu is still with us.
A lady interviewed by the BBC on her return from the Algarve said she was greatly impressed by the behaviours of the Portuguese people who seemed, by and large, to respect the conditions in place for our protection. She said she was ashamed of the British. I am far from sure that, from 19 July, that British people will ‘use common sense’, but Boris confirmed on Monday, 12 July, that this is his recommended way forward. Please note he did reserve the right to change his mind in September.
Two jabs and you are good to go
The new plans to allow travel if you have been vaccinated twice will help, but there is still endless political wrangling about what certificate is acceptable. The EU seems to be making quite good progress, but the USA has over 50 different certificates, each state has its own rules. IATA has been trying to implement a common standard for all travellers, but that hasn’t yet succeeded. It’s available to download for your smartphone, but airlines are still only at the stage of testing, and governments have not yet officially accepted the vaccine passport. Only last week there were objections to the Indian manufactured Oxford vaccine. Why? Nobody has an answer to that. Portugal has launched an online digital passport which is compatible with the EU guidelines. www.theportugalnews.com/news/2021-07-09/covid-19-passport-app-now-available/60922 If you live in Portugal, it would be wise to get your ‘digital passport’ as you may now be required to show it at certain establishments. www.theportugalnews.com/news/2021-07-12/the-new-covid-19-rules-explained/61027
London Heathrow is testing fast-track lanes for fully vaccinated holidaymakers if you are arriving from amber list countries.
Passengers would be able to digitally upload their vaccination certificates in advance of their flight and then be directed to separate lanes at immigration to fast-track them through border controls and prevent queues. If they can make this work, other airports will surely implement the same idea. As long as politicians are not allowed to interfere, it might just work. As far as UK politicians are concerned, don’t hold your breath, Boris and Co. clearly have done everything to try and keep the British at home. Only a week ago they were trying to stop the new relaxed two jab plan from coming into effect, but Grant Shapps seems to have achieved bringing this forward to 19 July.
Since his announcement, holiday bookings have boomed. Skyscanner reported that searches for flights to holiday destinations went up by 51 percent within one hour. Low cost airline easyJet has added around 16,000 seats on flights between Portugal and the UK in response to the strong demand for travel to the country.
Covid is not going away, learn to live with it.
We have to be realistic; the time has come to accept that we have to learn to live with Covid, it’s going to be around for a long time, though hopefully well under control by the vaccines. The vast majority of research says they are at least 90 percent effective. If you haven’t had your jab yet, get it!
Believe the anti vax campaigners if you must, but the BBC published a good assessment ‘What’s behind the ‘anti-vax’ movement?’. www.bbc.com/news/health-33774181 It might help you reach an informed decision.
The Delta Variant and the Lambda Variant are side effects of the vaccines. Fact.
By Goa Phuc Usef from Açores on 16 Jul 2021, 06:28
I can’t agree more , well written.
By JanE from Lisbon on 17 Jul 2021, 18:44
Excellent article but what we need now is to get rid of the pointless (with the high percentage already vaccinated) Covid tests which can add up to € 400 per person return for an assymptomatic fully vaccinated ex-pat wanting to go to U.K. to visit relatives from whom they have been separated for 2 years or more.
By Roy Carpenter from Algarve on 19 Jul 2021, 14:08
In reply to Goa Phue Usef, quite correct, there are so many vaccine experts shouting out that this is what is happening but their voices are silenced in main stream media. The BBC is acting as propaganda machine, they are proudly pushing one narrative, a presenter admitted this on 5 live saying we don't accept any debate with antivaxxers even if they are correct. The point of the matter is there are many pro vaccine scientists who are against using an experimental gene vaccine on the whole population, it is slander to call them antivaxxers. However no debate is permitted, regardless who is correct.... that is propaganda.. Science is about having continuing debate. If the Covid "vaccine" debate stood up they would be happy to debate. It is exasperating for anyone who has taken the time to listen to the many experts on both sides of the fence, the evidence for fraud is overwhelming and yet the main stream media is almost silent. On this path we are marching towards global fascism however only 10% realize, a Portuguese friend of commented about Portugal, "once, twice surely not three times" referring to general population marching towards new fascism. So much I pray for a global awakening, with love we will have no fear and joyfully connect and share our view to arrive at the certain truth. Let know one have closed lips and all express themselves. God bless us all. Thanks you Portugal News for your comments section.
By Albert Smith from Porto on 19 Jul 2021, 14:26
I agree that we will have to learn to live with it, but not yet! We need to get most of the population vaccinated first. Only then can we learn to live with it without putting the most vulnerable in our society at extreme risk. There is a simple solution to industries like the tourist and hospitality suffering. Give everyone a universal basic income, subsidise these business, furlough the staff on full pay. The government doesn't have enough money I hear you cry, the money is out there though, big businesses are still making money, there are still billionaires using tax loop holes and tax havens. The money is there, just in the wrong pockets!
By Sam Wilkinson from Beiras on 20 Jul 2021, 21:34