Portugal air bridge snub ‘not supported by science’, says study

77airbridge snubA study by the NOVA University of Lisbon released this Wednesday defends that Portugal has all the conditions to receive tourists and that the UK's decision not to include the country on its recent travel list will have "socio-economic, political and diplomatic consequences."

“Portugal should be in the tourist corridors of Europe”, is both the title and the conclusion of a study by the Centre for Research in Public Health of the National School of Public Health at Universidade NOVA de Lisboa. Portugal has “good epidemiological risk indicators in relation to Covid-19, a national health system with good response capacity, good options for air, road and rail transport and is a democratic country, in law, where law and order are complied with”, reads the investigation carried out by researchers Vasco Ricoca Peixoto and Alexandre Abrantes.

The study, that was released this Wednesday morning, argues that the UK's decision not to place Portugal on the “safe tourist corridor” list “lacks technical-scientific rigor and transparency”. According to the researchers, “interpreting the incidence values ​​of reported cases without considering other epidemiological risk indicators, the geographic distribution and without considering that different countries detect different percentages of the actual total of cases, is wrong”. According to the text now published, this attitude "led to the adoption of inappropriate policies" that, without contributing in a relevant way to "prevent transmission", have "negative socio-economic, political and diplomatic consequences".

In practical terms, any Portuguese citizen arriving in the United Kingdom from Portugal will be required to comply with a 14-day quarantine and the same procedure is not required for citizens from other countries in the same region such as Belgium, Spain, France or Italy. The British Government's decision was based on criteria that "are not clarified", says the NOVA study, stating that, like other countries, "the United Kingdom considers the incidence of Covid-19 (number of cases per hundred thousand inhabitants) in the last 14 days as the main epidemiological risk criterion for comparing the severity of the pandemic in different countries and regions, and deciding their containment policies, namely for the opening of borders".

"The analysis of the epidemiological risk of Covid-19 should include a set of other indicators, namely: a) under-detection of cases, b) testing policy, c) diagnostic testing policies, d) severity of cases, measured by rates of mortality, morbidity, general hospitalization and in intensive care units, and e) geographical distribution of cases", adds the report.

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