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Portuguese head of state rejects that new variant of covid-19 is worrying for Angola

The Portuguese President of the Republic rejected on Saturday that the spread of the latest variant of the coronavirus in Angola is a factor of concern, arguing that the country has had a strict containment policy since the beginning of the pandemic.

: Rui Ochoa/Presidência da República portuguesa
Rui Ochoa/Presidência da República portuguesa  

Asked by journalists in Luanda whether he was worried about the strain recently discovered in South Africa, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa replied in the affirmative, adding: "but not here, in Angola".

"In Angola there has always been, fortunately, a very careful policy. As soon as I arrived [Saturday], at 7:00 am, I took my test and got the result right away. There was always a very careful policy regarding entry and exit from the territory and how much testing", he declared, adding that Portugal is also "contributing".

The head of state said that during Saturday afternoon he would also "formally deliver 200,000 vaccines" and that through COVAX, the World Health Organization (WHO) vaccine distribution program, "another 1,300,000 will come".

In total, he maintained, Portugal will contribute "more than two and a half million" of doses.

Therefore, "Angola has not had the problems of other African countries".

The Portuguese head of state also considered that the repatriation of Portuguese citizens, due to the recently discovered strain of SARS-CoV-2, depends on the "judgments of the health authorities", but recalled that the process falls within the competence of the Government.

At the end of a visit to the Paz Flor Vaccination Center on the outskirts of Luanda, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was asked about the requests for repatriation of several Portuguese residents, for example, in Mozambique, because of travel restrictions enacted to mitigate the spread of the most recent variant, detected in South Africa.

"I will not anticipate what is the Government's competence in this matter of repatriation, as it involves the intervention of the judgments of the health authorities", said the head of State.

At this moment, he continued, "knowing enters into measuring the progression of cases outside the country, inside the country, of Portuguese people inside the country or outside the country".

The President of the Republic was in Luanda over the weekend to participate in the Luanda Biennial 2021 - 2021 - Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace. The visit program also included a visit to one of the largest vaccination centers in the capital Angola.

The new variant of the coronavirus, Omicron, was detected in South Africa and, according to the WHO, the "high number of mutations" may imply greater infectivity.

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