Madeira registers first 18 cases of new Covid variant: one from Lisbon area

The archipelago of Madeira has been the first to declare cases of the ‘new Covid variant’ responsible for the decision by so many countries to slam their doors on Britons in transit.

But it would appear from the information given earlier today that the mainland must have it too.

President of Madeira Miguel Albuquerque explained this morning that 17 of the 18 cases have been traced to British visitors. But one was detected in someone who flew in from the Lisbon/ Vale do Tejo area.

It’s unclear what has happened to these infected passengers. 

Reports claim their ‘infections’ were flagged by airports authorities – but nothing has been fully explained.

A note issued by Madeiran health authorities on Sunday said that “identification was only possible thanks to the work developed by the testing centre of Madeira International Airport which allows the testing, identification and sending into isolation of positive cases when detected”.

This implies that the 17 Brits and one passenger from Lisbon/ Vale do Tejo will have been sent into ‘isolation’ (within a hotel?).

The global furore over the new variant has seen Portuguese authorities on the mainland relatively ‘relaxed’ (click here). It certainly doesn’t seem that the variant makes the virus more virulent nor that it is likely to resist the effects of the various vaccines now becoming available.

Indeed, there are those who claim the variant causes a milder form of Covid-19.

Meantime, the latest ‘figures’ for the last 24-hours have been published showing almost as many people recovered as were infected (1,936 ‘recovered’, 2,093 infected).

Thus, if the new variant is at work on the mainland, it is not yet making its high transmissibility known.

For the full picture click here: 58 deaths, active cases staying below 70,000, hospital admissions up by 97, still over 500 people in ICUs.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com