A British man has died after trying to save his two young daughters who got caught in the tide at a Portugal beach.
The two girls, aged nine and 12, were said to have got into difficulties because of the strong current at Calada Beach in Encarnacao, about an hour’s drive north-west of Lisbon, at 2pm on Thursday (3 June).
However, when the girls’ dad attempted to swim out to try and rescue them, he ran into trouble himself.
The man was pulled from the sea by surfers but he was already suffering cardiac arrest, according to local reports.
Locals and a nurse at the beach spent almost an hour trying to save him before he was tragically pronounced dead at the scene.
Portuguese daily Correio da Manha described the man as a Dubai-born national who was travelling on a British passport.
His two daughters were taken to Santa Maria hospital in Lisbon for a medical examination following the incident.
The popular surfers spot is a long stretch of sandy beach in the shape of a seashell, and is surrounded by tall cliffs to help protect it from strong winds.
A spokesperson for the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson said: “We are providing support to the family of a British man who has sadly drowned in Portugal. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones.”
Portugal removed from green list
The tragic incident occurred on the same day that Portugal was removed from the UK’s travel green list, following concerns about rising Covid-19 cases in the country.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced the latest updates for foreign travel on Thursday (3 June) afternoon, stating the Government is taking a ‘safety first’ approach in a bid to reduce the risk of emerging variants entering the country.
Portugal has seen an almost doubling in the Covid-19 test positivity rate since the first review of the travel traffic light system, far exceeding the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated national positivity rate in the UK.
More significantly, according to data published on GISAID, 68 cases of the Delta Covid variant have been identified in Portugal, including cases of the Delta variant with an additional, potentially detrimental, mutation.
Public Health England is investigating this variant and mutation to determine if it could be more transmissible and less effectively tackled by vaccines, which could potentially put the lockdown roadmap at risk.
UK Health Security Agency chief executive, Dr Jenny Harries, said: “Increases in case rates in the UK serve as a reminder that this pandemic is not over yet and we need to take a cautious approach.
“Everyone should observe the travel guidance, continue to follow hands, face, space and fresh air, and have both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine when offered.
“Testing will help to break chains of transmission and allow us to see which variants are circulating so make sure you get tested when you return to the UK in line with the guidance.”
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