Portugal heading back to quarantine status?
JM reported yesterday that the Madeira Tourism Secretary had revealed that, a week after the United Kingdom included Portugal in the safe travel corridors for British tourists, the English market in the region grew by 64%.
“We [Madeira], in the space of a week, grew 64% in the English market”, declared Eduardo Jesus in the context of the press conference to present the Madeira Flower and Wine Festival program (detailed in a separate post), which will take place from September 3rd to 27th.
Unfortunately, on the same day, both the Telegraph and the BBC reported that Portugal was in danger of returning to the quarantine-on-return list as the number of infections rose.
The Telegraph reports that there were 21.1 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people in Portugal in the seven days to August 30, up from 19.4 in the seven days to August 29. The UK Government has said that 20 cases per 100,000 over seven days is the threshold, after which travel corridors are reassessed.
“Restrictions for Madeira were lifted and there are a series of trips that are made almost on impulse”, added the tourism official.
On August 20, the British government included Portugal in the list of countries with “travel corridors” for England whose passengers are exempt from fulfilling a two-week quarantine imposed due to the covid-19 pandemic.
However, eight days later, in statements to Lusa, the coordinator of the covid-19 crisis office of the Portuguese Medical Association (OM), the pulmonologist Filipe Froes, warned of the possibility of the situation receding.
The official spoke of the deterioration of the epidemiological situation in the country, on August 28, the day when Portugal registered six more deaths and 401 new confirmed cases of infection.
This situation led the Regional Government of Madeira to send letters today to the Governments of the Republic and the United Kingdom, as well as to the British ambassador to Portugal and to that of Portugal in England, to demonstrate that the epidemiological situation of Madeira is different from that which is National level.
Eduardo Jesus considers that “Portugal has had a tremendous failure in the efforts it has made internationally to enforce the epidemiological situations of each of its regions”.
In his opinion, “there is a manifest inability of the Government of the Republic to communicate abroad that there are regions in the country and that they are experiencing different situations” in terms of the pandemic, which has “penalized Madeira, which has had an evolution in control completely different from what happens in the national whole ”.
The Madeiran official recalled that previously “more than 60 communications were made with various sending markets” and that, “with regard to England, the distinction between Madeira and Portugal has not yet happened”.
Eduardo Jesus mentioned that, given the current national epidemiological situation, whose evolution is “worrying”, “the idea that Portugal will be excluded and next Thursday will be considered new restrictions for Portugal by England” begins to emerge.
The government official stressed that Madeira “returned to the field”, through diplomatic channels, to ensure that the situations of the regions and the national whole are distinguished.
For the Madeiran government official, the efforts made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal “can be inglorious, as were the previous ones”, saying that this has been of a “complete ineffectiveness with regard to compliance with the European Commission’s communication” in the sense this distinction.
“The results demonstrate the failure with regard to the separation of regions of the country”, a situation that could again penalize Madeira, he reaffirmed.
Updates are being added to Fridays post for the time being