Portugal’s Costa chides Germany over coronavirus travel restrictions – POLITICO

Portugal’s Costa chides Germany over coronavirus travel restrictions – POLITICO

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Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa criticized Germany’s decision to restrict travellers from Portugal over concerns about coronavirus variants.

“Germany, for various reasons, has had a particularly restrictive and cautious policy in managing the pandemic. Sometimes rightly, sometimes wrongly,” Costa told Portuguese daily Público in an interview published Sunday.

Germany’s behavior could also come from “doubt” about “how to apply the new rules, which we are all learning, and as such, [is] a decision I don’t value in particular,” he said, referring to new EU rules on travel within the bloc.

Germany forbade access to travellers coming from Portugal and Russia starting Tuesday. Portugal witnessed a spike in cases and has the highest incidence rate in the EU (a weekly average of 159 cases per million citizens on July 3).

Chancellor Angela Markel had previously chided Portugal‘s decision to allow tourists from Britain — where the Delta variant is prevalent — into the country, forcing Lisbon to reverse course and impose a two-week quarantine on Britons unless they are fully vaccinated.

“In my conversation with Mrs. Merkel, I did not try to convince her that our situation is not serious. I was just clarifying causality — it was clear from the geographical incidence of the new variant and the increase in cases, especially in the Lisbon region, that it had nothing to do with the Champions League final in Porto,” but rather emerged from “direct contact with a population from the Hindustan region” in India, who “work in agriculture and also in tourism,” Costa said.

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