Italy and Portugal reinforce containments again: DONG-A ILBO

European countries that have relaxed Covid-19 restrictions are stepping up quarantine measures again as cases have skyrocketed due to the spread of the Delta variant that originated in India.

According to Reuters and other media, the Portuguese government has imposed a curfew in the capital Lisbon until Sunday (local time) amid a peak in transmission of the Delta variant. As a result, residents of Lisbon were not allowed to leave the capital without an urgent reason from Thursday to Sunday.

On the highways around Lisbon, police officers were frequently seen stopping vehicles and asking motorists the purpose of their trips, media reported. In Portugal, the number of new confirmed cases fell to the level of 100 at the beginning of last month, but the number started to rise again in June to exceed 1,000 cases per day for four consecutive days from June 16 to 19. This is the first time in about three months since March 6 that the number of confirmed cases has exceeded 1,000. “More than 60% of new confirmed patients are infected with the Delta variant,” said the health authority. “The upward trend in confirmed cases coincides with the admission of British tourists to the country from May 17th.”

The Italian government has started reimposing a mandatory five-day quarantine on inbound travelers from the UK from Saturday. Italy began allowing non-quarantine arrivals for tourists from the UK on May 15, but the country has again stepped up quarantine measures as 16% of confirmed cases have been caused by the Delta variant. The Financial Times reported that France, Germany, Spain and Belgium have stepped up quarantine measures or decided to delay the planned lifting of lockdowns. The UK has reported more than 10,000 confirmed cases for three consecutive days until Saturday, and experts say the country has indeed entered the third wave of outbreaks. European Union leaders plan to discuss countermeasures for the spread of the Delta variant at their summit on Thursday and Friday.

Youn-Jong Kim

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