Portugal: Madeira registers 18 cases of new strain of SARS-CoV-2

The President of the Government of Madeira said on Monday that 18 cases of infection with the new strain of SARS- CoV-2 have been detected in the region, 17 of them from the United Kingdom and one from Lisbon and the Tagus Valley.

In a video conference on 21 December, Miguel Albuquerque announced that the government of Madeira would carry out, in conjunction with the Ricardo Jorge Institute, analysis of positive cases from the United Kingdom, to assess whether the new strain of the virus had already reached the region.

On Sunday, the Regional Secretariat for Health and Civil Protection of Madeira confirmed that it had detected the presence of the new strain of SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19, in travellers arriving in the region from the UK.

The authority stressed that the strategy to control the pandemic in the region is maintained “with a focus on passenger surveillance” and compliance with the guidelines of the health authorities.

The new strain of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus identified in the UK, which is presented as the most contagious and which is worrying the world, is already circulating in several countries and territories, within and outside Europe.

Following the identification of this new variant of SARS-CoV-2, several countries, within and outside Europe, have decided to suspend links, including air links, with the United Kingdom, a list which is growing.

The British strain of the virus has also been detected at least in Sweden, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, Norway and Japan.

Much of the EU began vaccination against Covid-19 on Sunday, in a step-by-step action that will focus on the most vulnerable people, the elderly or health professionals especially exposed to infections.

In Portugal, the national health authority said that the first vaccines against the new coronavirus should retain at least some effectiveness against the most contagious new variant from the UK.