The Portuguese authorities ordered a weekend lockdown of the capital area of Lisbon beginning on Friday in an try to blunt a latest surge of latest infections, providing a highly effective reminder that even as Europe seeks to reopen more fully, the virus nonetheless poses challenges.
The choice got here after Portugal registered this week its highest number of new cases since March, leaping by greater than 1,300 in the previous 24 hours.
Public well being officers mentioned that the rise in circumstances was steepest round Lisbon they usually estimated that roughly half of the new circumstances concerned the Delta variant, first detected in India and on the rise in different nations, together with Britain.
The weekend lockdown goes into impact at three p.m. on Friday and lasts till 6 a.m. on Monday. While in impact, residents in the Lisbon area will likely be prohibited from touring outdoors their residence space, an try to maintain the unfold of the virus confined.
The emergency measure is a pointed reversal of the optimism that officers expressed in May, when the nation was recording one in every of the lowest an infection charges in Europe and transferring to kick-start the summer season tourism season.
Portugal was one in every of the first European nations to reopen its borders to guests from Britain and from throughout the European Union. And the British authorities named Portugal to a very small record of nations the place its residents may journey with out having to quarantine upon return.
It didn’t final lengthy.
By June, the British authorities had reversed course and reimposed a quarantine for individuals getting back from Portugal, creating journey chaos for British vacationers who scrambled to get residence earlier than the quarantine got here into drive.
The British authorities has been warning about the hazard that the Delta variant poses, notably in populations that haven’t but been absolutely vaccinated. Prime Minister Boris Johnson delayed the full reopening of the economy — initially set to happen on Monday — for a number of weeks to permit the nation’s inoculation drive to achieve extra individuals.