The Portuguese government has decided to apply the same restrictions on passengers flying into the country from South Africa as already apply to those arriving from Brazil and the United Kingdom.
Says a communiqué from the Ministry of Interior Administration issued today: “In the context of the epidemiological situation provoked by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the government has decided that restrictions in place on flights originating in Brazil and the United Kingdom should apply to passengers on flights from South Africa who arrive in Portugal either direct or via third countries”.
The restrictions – involving the presentation of a valid negative Covid test followed by 14 days to be spent in prophylactic isolation (quarantine) – will stay in place until March 31.
Says the statement, they come “after Portuguese health authorities have identified some cases of infection from the South African variant of Covid-19” meaning there is “risk of its propagation”.
Reports circulating do not mention concerns, cited in the international press last month, that the South African variant can “spread more readily and vaccines may not work quite as well against it”.
Forbes online only three days ago reported that: “Two doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine were found to have only a 10.4% efficacy against mild-to-moderate infections caused by the B.1.351 South Africa variant, according to a phase 1b-2 clinical trial published on Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. This is a cause for grave concern as the South African variants share similar mutations to the other variants leaving those vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine potentially exposed to multiple variants”.
As we are constantly being told ‘scientists around the world are closely studying and monitoring variants as they emerge’, with experts “updating coronavirus vaccines” on a regular basis.