UK transport secretary Grant Shapps stated the entry ban, which took impact on Friday morning, was prolonged to passengers arriving from Portugal as a result of many individuals who come to Europe from South America journey by means of Portugal.
“We do not have instances in the intervening time, however this can be a precautionary strategy,” Shapps instructed the BBC. “We need to ensure that we do all the things doable in order that vaccine rollout can proceed and ensure that it is not disturbed by different variants of this virus.”
The announcement comes only a few weeks after many nations banned journey from the UK following the invention in England of one other, extra contagious variant of the virus that has been blamed for a pointy rise in Covid-19 instances and deaths. Scientists have stated there isn’t a indication the UK variant reacts any otherwise to coronavirus vaccines.
Portuguese international minister Augusto Santos Silva referred to as the UK’s resolution “with out logic” and stated he would search clarification from his British counterpart.
“Suspending flights from Portugal with the argument of the connections between Portugal and Brazil is, with all due respect, fully absurd,” he stated in an interview printed on-line by the newspaper Diario de Noticias.
The UK is ramping up its mass vaccination program as the federal government seeks to guard the nation’s oldest and most susceptible residents earlier than easing a 3rd nationwide lockdown. In keeping with authorities figures on Friday, slightly greater than 3.2 million individuals, or round 5% of the British inhabitants, have obtained a primary dose of a two-shot vaccine.
Britain plans to offer the primary dose to greater than 15 million individuals, together with these over 70, frontline healthcare employees and others who’re significantly susceptible to the virus, by the center of February.
“We’re so shut now that we need to ensure we do completely all the things doable to offer us the perfect likelihood of beating this virus, which is why it is vital that we do act shortly on this stuff,” Shapps stated.
Whereas the primary stage of the vaccination program goals to guard round 85% of these deemed almost definitely to die from Covid-19, the nation is anticipated to proceed recording excessive mortality charges over the approaching weeks due to the lag time between infections and deaths.
The federal government reported 55,761 extra confirmed instances on Friday and the deaths of one other 1,280 individuals inside 28 days of testing constructive for the virus. The every day replace introduced the UK’s demise toll within the pandemic to 87,295, the best quantity in Europe and the fifth-highest on this planet.
Lots of the newly recognized are more likely to have develop into contaminated throughout the vacation interval, earlier than the present nationwide lockdown in England got here into power on January 5. The hope is that the lockdown will lead to an infection charges falling over the subsequent week or two, significantly in areas that had been locked down earlier than the vacation. They embody London and the southeast of England, the place the brand new variant of the virus was first recognized.