The United Kingdom has announced the removal of Portugal from the green list of international travel and have justified this by stating that 68 cases of what it called the Nepalese variant were identified in Portugal, “with an additional potentially harmful mutation”, which could be more transmissible and resistant to vaccines.

Interviewed on SIC-Notícias, the microbiologist and scientist from the National Health Institute Doctor Ricardo Jorge (INSA) was surprised by the decision and the alarm of the United Kingdom and said that the mutation, whose numbers announced by London do not correspond to the reality in Portugal, naturally deserves vigilance, but the cases in Portugal are few, they are concentrated and perfectly identified in small communities.

At issue, he explained, is what he called the “sub-strain” of the Indian variant, which is normal because virus variants have an evolutionary process.

The official said that it was with surprise that he received the news of the decision from the United Kingdom, because the Indian variant in Portugal did not even reach 5 percent (it is at 4.8 percent), and within this are the 12 cases of the mutation.

Therefore, concluded João Paulo Gomes, this is a “a storm in a teapot” and what the United Kingdom has said “doesn't make sense”, as the economic impact resulting from a decision based on 12 cases cannot be explained.

The British government decided this week that Portugal, including the Madeira and Azores archipelagos, will be removed from the "green list" of international travel on Tuesday at 4:00 am, and will instead move to the Amber list.

Countries on the “Amber list” are subject to tighter restrictions, namely a 10-day quarantine on arrival in the UK and two PCR tests on the second and eighth day, as is already the case with most European countries, including Spain, France and Greece.

Portugal had been the only country in the European Union (EU) on the "green list", which exempts travellers from quarantine when returning to British territory, in force since May 17. The list of safe destinations is thus reduced to 11 countries and territories.