Omicron Edition spoils Christmas plans for the Portuguese in Britain

Omicron Edition spoils Christmas plans for the Portuguese in Britain

At the departure gate at Birmingham Airport, on his way to Portugal, where he intended to spend Christmas with his family, Rui Monteiro was getting ready to turn off his cell phone when he read a message that had just arrived : He tested positive for Covid-19.

The result came 72 hours after the test, and refuted the negative result of another test taken the day before and needed to travel to Faro. Rui Monteiro and his wife are scientists and weigh the arguments.

“We thought it was silly, because if I was really positive I would be turned off. I don’t know how many people are on the plane and then I’ll get to Portugal and I’ll have to isolate myself. We thought it was back.” Better go and that’s it. The kids were very disappointed”, Lusa told the agency.

Patricia Santos, the shock of not being able to travel, was not at the airport, but days before her trip to Portugal, whose tickets had been bought since October and pre-boarding tests already booked.

“Last week a colleague of mine tested positive for Covid and we went to test for discharge on Sunday, as I had no symptoms. My partner and I had a negative result, but my 11-year-old daughter tested positive. did,” he said.

“Weird, but what can you do?”, he said, although resigned to being suspicious, as he continues to test negative in rapid tests.

Isa Ribeiro has no doubt that she was infected when she got tested on 14 December. Ironically, he was teleworking, extraordinarily and at his request, as he wanted to avoid contagion before traveling to Portugal.

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“I had a lot of things with friends that I usually only see at the moment! And I’m going to miss my sister’s birthday, who is the only one in the family where I usually go because it’s Christmas.” It costs one lot,” the engineer confessed to Lusa, a natural civil servant from Coimbatore.

The three cases of affected Portuguese people are a sample of the worsening of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom, due to the new micron variant, which is believed to be more transmissible and which has increased the number of infections in recent weeks.

On Wednesday, the country recorded over 100,000 cases of COVID-19 in 24 hours for the first time since the start of the pandemic, and the figure is expected to remain high in the short term.

In Portugal, the risk posed by the new version of the coronavirus, which is triggering infections in Europe, prompted the government to declare a state of disaster and tighten containment measures, including for foreign arrivals.

Since 1 December, when a state of disaster was declared, all passengers arriving in Portugal by air are required to present a negative test for COVID-19 or a recovery certificate on arrival, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated .

The new wave of the pandemic coincides with the Christmas season, when thousands of Portuguese residents abroad return to Portugal to spend the Christmas season with their families.

For Rui Monteiro, after “two miserable years” and a Christmas in 2020 that was already worsened by COVID-19 and celebrated for four in Birmingham, where he lives, this year he will be able to be with his family. A mission was declared.

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So, as soon as mandatory isolation rules changed in England, on Wednesday, reducing the duration from ten to seven days, it went back to re-tests that confirmed it was not infected.

He explained, “We weighed the pros and cons because it’s not a small decision. But we really want to be with family, especially kids with their cousins.”

They ended up booking a flight for the next day [hoje], to arrive in Portugal before Christmas Eve, six days later than originally planned.

Isa Ribeiro also hopes to travel in the next few days as he tests negative for Covid-19.

“I’ve been to Timor and Brazil, I’m here [em Londres] Eight years ago and I always spent Christmas at home. I want to go on 24th December and plan C has to go on 26th. Hopefully you’ll be there first,” he said optimistically.

In recent days he has been exchanging messages with friends of other nationalities, who were also shocked by the positive tests and saw their plans go haywire.

“It’s impossible here in London, it’s practically a national sport to avoid Covid before Christmas,” he joked.

In contrast, Patricia Santos accepted the cost of living in the United Kingdom during the festive season and changed the dates of the plane tickets to February.

But, hurt by the experience, he still fears the pandemic will turn his way.

“Let’s see. Crazy, that’s the disease,” he sighed.

About the author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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