Algarve health delegate Ana Cristina Guerreiro. Photo: BRUNO FILIPE PIRES/OPEN MEDIA GROUP

Family gatherings and long weekend tourists behind Algarve’s rising Covid cases, health delegate says

Family gatherings and the “large number of tourists” who visited the Algarve during early June’s long weekends could be behind the growing number of Covid-19 cases in the region, the Algarve’s health delegate Ana Cristina Guerreiro has said.

The new Delta variant may also be playing a role in the faster contagion rate, the delegate told Lusa news agency.

By midnight on Tuesday, the Algarve’s incidence had increased to 186 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last two weeks.

According to the health delegate, most of the cases among local residents are due to families who lack the means to “properly isolate” if they test positive, or due to “extended family gatherings” such as dinners or parties.

The arrival of tourists from other parts of the country during the long weekends earlier this month is also said to have spiked the region’s tally.

Last Friday, the health delegate had also highlighted the impact of foreign tourists on the numbers, stressing that around one third of cases in the region were due to foreigners.

Algarve mayors as well as the regional tourism boss have already called on the government to review the way it tallies Covid-19 cases, as they say tourist destinations are being “unfairly penalised”. (Click here)

As they explained, if someone tests positive for Covid-19, they are considered a positive case in the borough they were tested in instead of where they live.

Meanwhile, the presence of the Delta variant in the Algarve is “unclear”, Guerreiro said.

Local health authorities are still waiting for the test results of around 100 samples which were sent to the Doutor Ricardo Jorge National Institute of Health (INSA) to establish whether it has already spread to the region, she added.