The Spanish – Portuguese border was officially re-opened today with a two-stage ceremony on both side of “La Raya” being the name of the border separating the two Iberian nations.
The ceremonies were jointly headed by Spain’s King Felipe VI and the president of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and in the presence of the Spanish and Portuguese Prime Ministers Pedro Sánchez and António Costa.
Despite the end of the states of emergency in both countries as well as the wider re-opening of European Union and Schengen Zone borders on June 21st both have seen significant spikes in infection and death rates due to Covid- 19 in the last week.
The Portuguese premier said that until there was a vaccine both countries would need to “live with Covid”.
The two stage re-opening ceremony took place in the Alcazaba of Badajoz followed by the castle of Elvas in Portugal.
Portugal has been widely praised for its caution and handling of the pandemic with one of the lowest infection rates in Europe.
In addition to the EU and Shengen re-opening the European Council formerly agreed on Tuesday to re-opening entry from an additional 14 ” safe” countries; Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
To date Spain has recorded 296,351 Covid-19 cases and 28,355 fatalities whilst Portugal has recorded 42,454 cases and 1,579 deaths.
On a per person basis taking into account population differences Spain has registered 606 deaths per million of inhabitants whilst Portugal has 155.