Portugal suspends all flights with UK from Saturday 

Portugal is to suspend flight connections with the UK from Saturday (January 23).

After that date “only flights of a humanitarian nature to repatriate Portuguese who need it, or Britons who want to return to UK, will be going ahead”, prime minister António Cost announced this evening following a videoconference with EU leaders.

The virtual meeting had been called to discuss the possibility of closing frontiers within the EU due to the rapid spread of the so-called British variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

This has been considered unnecessary, said Mr Costa – but concern was nonetheless focused on the variant and countries that have ‘close relations with Britain’, “namely Portugal”.

All in all, it has been a ‘busy 24-hours’ in terms of measures taken to curb transmission of the UK variant. Mr Costa announced the closure of all schools late last night – citing the variant as the salient reason.

Flights between Portugal and UK have already become incredibly difficult thanks to the decision by the British government last week to ban entry to all passengers travelling from Portugal – bar British and Irish nationals, and those legally residing in UK (click here). That decision was taken to stem the spread of the so-called Brazilian variant.

But now, any flights that continued to run (out of Lisbon and Porto) to UK will be cancelled.

The EU meantime is prolonging all restrictions already in place for passengers from third countries.

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