Spain, Portugal extend land border curbs till March 1

Spain and Portugal have announced the extention of the restrictions along the countries’ internal land border until March 1 in a bid to control the spread of new coronavirus variants.

According to Tuesday’s edition of Spain’s Official State Gazette (BOE), border crossings are only allowed at authorised posts, and exceptions have been made for those crossing the border for work or study purposes, as well as for accredited residents returning home from another country in the Schengen travel area and for diplomatic personnel, reports Xinhua news agency.

Spain has so far reported 3,005,487 Covid-19 cases and 63,061 deaths, while Portugal’s overall infection tally and fatality toll stood at 770,502 and 14,557, respectively.

At its Tuesday meeting, the Spanish government also decided to maintain the ban on flights from the UK, Brazil and South Africa, the three countries where the new variants have been discovered, until March 2.

The measures have been extended despite clear signs that the third wave of the pandemic continues to ease in Spain.

Also on Tuesday, Spain began to administer 196,800 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which arrived in the country over the weekend and were distributed to the 17 autonomous communities a day earlier.

For now, these vaccines will only be administered to people aged between 18 and 55, starting with sanitary and care workers who are not on the frontline of the battle against the coronavirus.