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Portugal imposes travel ban on Lisbon to contain COVID Delta variant

DW, 19 Jun 2021
A three-day travel ban is in force in Portugal's capital Lisbon. Authorities are worried about the growing number of cases of the coronavirus Delta variant, which is seen to be more infectious than other strains. There are concerns that the variant will soon spread across the EU. Portugal has now said it is likely to become the dominant variant in the country over the next weeks.
Police began checking drivers entering or leaving Lisbon on Friday afternoon. Authorities announced the measures just the day before, but officers say most residents knew something was coming their way.
Lisbon's 2.8 million residents can only leave the area with a valid reason. And those living outside are barred from entering. They're tough measures, but most people appeared to accept them.
Most people here are very aware of just how dangerous the virus can be. Portugal was hit hard earlier in the year. The country's health system was on the verge of collapse. After a lockdown was imposed in January the tide gradually turned. Infection rates dropped and restriction were almost completely lifted.
But less than a month after Portugal reopened it borders to tourists from the UK and the rest of the EU, the country is seeing a new surge.
The government blamed the rapid spread of the delta variant for the sudden increase in cases. Portugal's government says it is monitoring the rise in cases. And whether the snap travel ban will be repeated will be decided weekly.


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