"We understand that this is a disappointing outcome for many people in both countries," says the Embassy led by Chris Sainty in a statement released after the announcement of the British Government's decision to keep Portugal out of the travel corridors that exempt passengers from quarantine upon arrival in the United Kingdom.
The statement stresses that “the first duty of any government is to protect its population” and that “these decisions are based solely on public health considerations to minimize the risk for British travellers and the risk of importing new cases of covid- 19 for the UK.”
And he points out that "These decisions are based solely on public health considerations with the objective of minimising the risk to UK travellers and the risk of importing new cases of COVID-19 into the UK.
The statement continues: “The first duty of any government is to protect its population. These decisions are based solely on public health considerations with the objective of minimising the risk to UK travellers and the risk of importing new cases of COVID-19 into the UK. The British Government’s decisions have been informed by scientific and technical advice prepared by Public Health England (PHE) and the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC). PHE consider a range of factors impacting travel overseas including (i) weekly population adjusted incidence rates (ii) death rate (iii) testing in country (rate, capacity, positivity rate) (iv) WHO country self-reporting data (community transmission, clusters, etc) (v) epidemiological intelligence.
“The experts advising the UK Government have had access to all the relevant public source data for Portugal, as well as extensive data and evidence provided by the Portuguese Government. They have considered many indicators in addition to the latest case numbers, including regional data, testing data, testing strategy and the nature of recent COVID-19 outbreaks in Portugal. There has also been direct contact between experts from both countries to discuss the data.
“We appreciate the comprehensive efforts by the Portuguese Government and the health authorities in fighting the pandemic, containing the spread of the virus and keeping hospitalisation and death rates very low. However, due to the series of outbreaks in recent weeks, the prevalence of the virus in mainland Portugal over the recent period has remained persistently high. “While the indicators have shown improvement in recent days, they are not yet at a level which allows the UK Government to relax the current measures.”
The UK Government has said that these decisions will be regularly reviewed and that going forward, the list of exempted countries will be reviewed on a more frequent basis to enable the UK Government to respond quickly to the latest epidemiological assessments.
The statement concludes: “We continue to believe that the measures adopted by the Portuguese authorities are the right ones and will bring the infection rate down to sustained low levels, allowing the UK to lift the remaining restrictions as soon as that can safely be achieved”.
If you disagree with the decision of the UK Government to continue to leave Portugal off the air bridge list, then click here to find details on how to sign a petition and lobby UK ministers.
WHO and Worldometer Data for each country for confirmed cases per week.
Week ending 29/6/20 - 2380 cases
Week ending 6//7/20 - 2652 cases
Week ending 13/7/20 - 2169 cases
Week ending 20/7/20 - 760 cases
On 760 cases that is roughly 7.6 per 100,000 infection rate.
The Algarve is roughly 3 per 100,000 now.
Week ending 29/6/20 - 2589 cases
Week ending 6//7/20 - 4590 cases
Week ending 13/7/20 - 9016 cases
Week ending 20/7/20 - 8865 cases
On 8865 cases that is roughly 18.7 per 100,000 infection rate.
The ONS last figures for England is estimated at 2,800 new cases per day or 19,600 per week for the week ending 20/7/20 and also states that the current infection rate is 5.2 per 100,000.
As such the Algarve is less than England and the whole of Portugal is just above England with the most telling factor being that Spain is on and Portugal off even though Spain has a rising infection rate over the last three weeks and Portugal has declined.
As such Portugal is now 7.6 per 100,000 and Spain is 18.7 per 100,000 infection rate.