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Spain and Portugal Advocate caution as Boundary reopens amid new COVID-19 outbreaks

It is the longest national boundary in Europe and following weeks of lockdown, it could now be spanned normally.

At an official ceremony attended by the two nations’ heads of state and government on Wednesday (July 1), the frontier was reopened for the first time because the coronavirus lockdowns were enforced — and ten times later than boundary constraints were eased in the remainder of the Schengen region.

On the other hand, the leaders advocated caution. Portugal gets the second-highest speed of COVID-19 illnesses per inhabitant in Europe, and 19 districts to the north of Lisbon are once more locked down. Meanwhile, dozens of fresh coronavirus outbreaks are reported in Spain because the nation relaxed limitations.

“We will need to keep on living with this virus on each side of the boundary, in each town, everybody. We will need to get educated and respect the principles,” cautioned Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez emphasized that transfers to reopen borders were accepted for scientific, not political factors.

“In the end, each of the standards on which the decision taken by the European Union was established is absolutely and rigorously epidemiological, nothing related to diplomacy,” he explained.

Following the service at Badajoz, the delegations went to Elvas, a Portuguese city highly determined by Spanish tourists — where lockdown was a serious blow to the market.

“We should not have shut our borders. Whoever died would have died, and those who lived would have lived. And this ought to have stayed as it had been.

But many commended the Portuguese government’s prudence and resolution at its management of the catastrophe.