The Transport secretary of the British government, Grand Shapps, hinted recently to the possibility of establishing “air bridges” between the United Kingdom and countries with a low rate of coronavirus. The measure would circumvent the mandatory 14-day quarantine to every citizen coming from abroad, which will be put in place from June 8th onwards. Air bridges would allow airlines to carry on with their business and would be very welcomed by those countries, namely Portugal.
The initial reactions to the plan have been quite adverse. According to The Telegraph, Shapps “was left isolated” as “Number 10, the Foreign Office and Home Office” deemed the measure as “unworkable”. This news would have poured cold water in the alleged negotiations that Britain is putting on the table with Portugal and a few other countries regarding the “air bridge” possibility.
Going for the long run
Ever since the “beginning” of the pandemic in Portugal, in the second week of March, we’ve learned that time stretches. A day can feel like a week; a week, like a month; and a month, like a whole year. The unpredictability of the situation and the need to react very fast to a volatile scenario gives every prediction a very short lifespan. Thankfully, all the field hospitals that Portugal put in place were not needed; however, we remind ourselves of the Direção-Geral de Saúde, the public healthcare governing body and authority, saying in the late March that the height of the pandemic would be seen in late May – which was quite exaggerated.
A lot has happened since the beginning of March, and there is still another month behind July and two months behind August. In many countries, the will of getting back to business is growing as fast as it went the need of going into lockdown.
Portugal can, indeed, be seen as a safe place regarding Covid-19, and especially Algarve. As of May 23rd, the 450,000 inhabitants region is accountable for 15 deaths and 361 identified cases.