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Coronavirus

Portugal Rebukes Britain over Coronavirus Travel Curbs

LISBON, Portugal — Portuguese officials have rebuked the British government over its decision to exclude Portugal from a relaxation of travel restrictions.

The U.K. government announced last Friday that from July 10 it will scrap a requirement for people arriving from dozens of countries to spend 14 days in isolation. Portugal wasn't on the list, however, apparently because of its relatively high infection rate.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa said Monday that authorities should “take into account a range of criteria and not focus on just one,” which can distort the picture of the coronavirus pandemic. Costa said “people should feel safer” in Portugal than in the U.K.

Portuguese officials argue that in other measurements of the battle against COVID-19, Portugal is doing better than Britain. The U..K. has reported 66 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, for example, while Portugal has recorded 16 per 100,000. Also, Portugal officially has 426 cases per 100,000 while the U.K. has 429, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

British visitors are a cornerstone of the key Portuguese tourism sector, and the British decision angered many people. Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva labelled the decision “absurd.”

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