Portugal closes land border with Spain as virus cases soar

Portugal closes land border with Spain as virus cases soar
File photo of a Spanish Civil Guard stopping a car at the Spanish-Portuguese border between Tui and Valenca. Photo: AFP
Portugal has announced it will close land borders with Spain from Friday for a period of at least two weeks as it attempts to contain virus.

The Portuguese Interior Minister Eduardo Cabrita announced that closure on Thursday in the light of “exponential growth” of infections.

The government  “will adopt a measure to limitation of travel to and from Portugal for the next 15 days,” he said, banning “access by air, water or land, except in exceptional cases”.

This means Portugal will reintroduce police controls along the1,200-km (750-mile) border with Spain.

Earlier in the day Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio Costa said hospitals were being overwhelmed with new cases.

 “There is no point in feeding the illusion that we are not facing the worst moment,” he told TVI broadcaster overnight. The situation was not bad but terrible, he said, “and we’ll face this worst moment for a few more weeks, that is for sure.”

Portugal has the world’s highest seven-day average of new daily cases and deaths per million inhabitants. It reported a total of 668,951 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 11,305 deaths, including a record 293 dead on Wednesday.

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