Government demands that Belgium remove Alentejo and Algarve from risky areas

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, demanded today that Belgium remove Alentejo and Algarve from the list of areas considered risky, subjecting travelers from these regions to “greater vigilance”, and admitted “surprise” with the inclusion.

Augusto Santos Silva | Cristina Bernardo

“To me, it was a surprise that, this morning, […] I heard about the notice published on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium that not only identified the parishes in the Lisbon area, but also the regions of the Alentejo and the Algarve, ”said the head of Portuguese diplomacy, speaking to journalists in Brussels after the meeting with their European Union (EU) counterparts.

"To my great surprise, I confess, since I do not know any data that can associate these two regions with the levels that, unfortunately, we know in such 19 parishes in Greater Lisbon", he added, in statements made after the first face-to-face meeting in four months of the EU foreign ministers, given the pandemic.

Augusto Santos Silva indicated that he “barely noticed” this situation, got in touch with the Portuguese ambassador in Brussels, with the Belgian ambassador in Lisbon and spoke with his Belgian counterpart, none of whom was aware of the inclusion.

“[The Belgian minister] promised me that they would identify and react. I do not know if it is identified and corrected at this time, but I hope so, "said the Minister for Foreign Affairs, considering that this inclusion of Alentejo and Algarve" does not give credibility "to Belgian restrictions due to covid-19 because it is not based on scientific criteria.

The alert, contacted Lusa, remained visible this afternoon on the Belgian diplomacy 'website', remaining explicit that travelers entering Belgium from the Alentejo and the Algarve will be subject to “greater surveillance” due to the covid pandemic. -19, without specifying the measures to be applied.

The Alentejo and the Algarve then join, albeit in a less serious category, the 19 parishes in the Metropolitan Area of ​​Lisbon that are in a state of calamity, which forces their residents to mandatorily test the covid-19 and quarantine to the arrival in Belgium.

In the 'orange' zone, 'more vigilance' is required, but the 'website' does not specify what kind of measures are planned for travelers arriving in Belgium from the countries, regions and areas included in it, such as Aragon and Catalonia, in Spain .

On Friday, Portugal had moved to the 'green' category in the traffic light model created by Belgian diplomacy, with the exception ('red', with mandatory test and quarantine) in the municipalities of Amadora and Odivelas, as well as the parishes of Queluz -Belas, Massamá-Monte Abraão, Agualva-Mira Sintra, Algueirão-Mem-Martins, Rio de Mouro and Cacém-São Marcos, in the municipality of Sintra, the parish of Santa Clara, in the municipality of Lisbon, and those of Camarate , Unhos, Apelação and Sacavém-Prior Velho, in the municipality of Loures.

On Saturday, a contact tracking form was distributed at Lisbon airport to passengers destined for Brussels, which obliged anyone who signed it to “consent to be quarantined for the 14 days following their arrival in Belgium” and had to be filled out by those who were in a of the 19 parishes most affected by the outbreak.

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