Portugal sees rising coronavirus cases as they ease lockdown and prepare to welcome Brits this summer

PORTUGAL has seen coronavirus cases rise five days in a row – ahead of plans to form air bridges with the UK.

The country has managed to keep cases of the virus low in comparison to neighbouring Spain.

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Portugal has nearly 32,000 cases and 1,383 confirmed deaths – compared to Spain's 284,986 cases and 27,119 deaths.

The UK remains one of the highest in Europe too, with 269,127 confirmed cases and 37,837 deaths.

However, as Portugal looks at easing their lockdown further and welcoming tourists back, cases have started to climb again.

Another 350 new cases have been confirmed today, following 304 cases yesterday – the highest increase since May 8.

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa told local media that Lisbon, the location of 88 per cent of the new cases, needed "special attention" to try and reduce the spread.

Until then, beaches and cafes remain open for locals to use.

Brits are looking at returning to Portugal by the summer as Lisbon previously announced they are "open for business" this weekend.

This is unlikely to include British travellers just yet, although airlines such as easyJet are resuming flights to the country next month.

Portugal is one of the few countries not enforcing 14-day quarantines, with coronavirus tests instead performed at airports in Madeira and the Azores.

Brits will be forced to quarantine for 14 days when returning from Portugal, unless an air bridge is agreed upon.

The UK government also advises against all non-essential travel outside of the country, which isn't likely to change any time soon.

The Algarve is still hoping to welcome British travellers this year, as cases in the region continue to decline.

Joao Fernandes, head of the Algarve Tourism Board, said: “There is a big British community living in the Algarve willing to bring back their family and friends like they do every year so this would be great news and opportunity for them to.

“In the airport there are strict health and security measures being taken as per national and international rules and upon arrival, the airport will monitor the health conditions of the traveller, take their temperature and isolate them only where Covid-19 symptoms are revealed.”

He added: "The country was quick to adopt preventive measures and extensive testing at an early stage to mitigate the spread of the pandemic, and as a result we have had much fewer cases than other European countries. "

Other countries such as Greece are looking at forming an air bridge with the UK.

However, with Greece announcing the list of 29 countries which can return next month – and the UK not on it – it is unlikely to be anytime soon.


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