Just when anyone might think they had seen it all, Portugal’s PM has told reporters that if the European Council backs Angela Merkel’s ‘demand’ to ban Brits from quarantine-free travel into the bloc (click here), Portugal will have no issue with compliance.
“If this is the agreement, yes”, he answered to the question “will Portugal close its frontiers to British citizens”.
This last Council of Europe is meeting from today until next Wednesday and will be deciding this and other issues to do with the bloc’s management of the pandemic.
Clearly, Angela Merkel is on a mission. But – and it’s a big but – variants have a way of ‘finding a way’, irrespective of any government-led restrictions.
For example, who can tell whether Mrs Merkel herself hasn’t already helped importation of the Delta variant into Germany by dint of the fact that she returned from the recent G7 summit in Cornwall and did not self-isolate?
Another sign that this might be (yet another) occasion of headlines running away with themselves is that Mr Costa has just ‘forecast’ that the Delta variant will be predominant through the bloc (accounting for up to 90% of new cases) by August.
Would the European Council really ‘ban Brits’ – and any other countries for that matter that are known to be dealing with new variants – knowing they were inflicting yet further economic damage to their tourism industries for the sake of putting off the inevitable?
We can only wait to see as the conflicting stories jostle for attention in a summer that shows every chance now of being economically worse than the one that came before it.