Diplomatic row between UK and Portugal over quarantine

People enjoy Carcavelos beach on a sunny day in Oeiras near Lisbon. EPA-EFE/MIGUEL A. LOPES

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The UK is embroiled in a diplomatic row with Portugal over quarantine, as its home affairs minister denied it is high risk, and claimed the UK was in a worse position in its response to Covid-19.

With Portugal facing the threat of exclusion from the UK’s “air bridge” plan, Eduardo Cabrita 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.”

His comments, reported in the Portuguese newspaper Diario de Noticias, come as Britain prepares to announce up to 50 countries on Wednesday to which holidaymakers can fly from July 6 without having to quarantine for 14 days 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 under the traffic light system that will clear green and amber-rated countries for quarantine-free travel.

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 8pm.

Read more via The Telegraph

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