Government introduces new measures for flights in and out of Portugal

The Portuguese government has announced new measures designed to combat the spread of Covid-19 through passengers flying in and out of the country.

In a dispatch signed off by the ministries of foreign affairs, national defence, health, interior administration and infrastructures and housing, the changes – due to stay in place until at least January 15, 2021 – are as follows:

“The UK is to be considered a ‘third country’ from January 1 and as such will be covered by rules for these countries. Only essential journeys, for professional motives, education, family reunion, health or humanitarian reasons are allowed – as well as the movement of EU citizens, nationals of States associated with the Schengen Space and members of their families and nationals of other third countries with legal residence in Portugal.

“Children up to the age of 24 months (two years old) are exempted from the obligation for laboratory testing for signs of SARS-CoV-2 infection, in accordance with technical recommendations of EU agencies”.

A statement issued today adds that measures previously adopted are maintained as follows:

“Passengers to Portugal on all flights from countries that are not part of the European Union – or that are not countries associated with the Schengen Area – must present, before boarding, proof of laboratory testing (RT-PCR) for screening for SARS-CoV-2 infection, with a negative result, performed within 72 hours prior to the time of embarkation.

“Citizens who violate the duty to present proof of testing with a negative result are referred by the competent authorities upon arrival on national soil to carry out said test at their own expense, in a place set aside within the airport…”

The whole idea for testing people (who arrive without tests) is to ensure nationals and resident expats “are not prevented from entering the country”.

But the airlines that bring them are still liable to fines for allowing passengers to board without the necessary negative test.

Any citizens who refuse to take a test having arrived without one will be “immediately notified by SEF” (the borders control agency) to submit to, and pay for, a test within 48 hours. These citizens will also be liable for prosecution for the crime of disobedience and propagation of a contagious illness, says the government statement.

Air traffic “continues to be authorised for all flights to and from countries within the European Union and those associated with the Schengen Space (Lichenstein, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland).

The only other ‘authorised flights’ are to countries and ‘special administrative regions’ with an epidemiological situation according to EU recommendation 2020/1551, dated October 22. These countries are Australia, China, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Ruanda, Singapore, Thailand, Uruguay, Hong Kong and Macau.

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