Portuguese court rules against mandatory 14-day quarantine under State of Calamity

A court in Sintra has ruled against mandatory quarantine for travellers under Portugal’s new State of Calamity.

The court granted a writ of habeas corpus last week – immediately releasing a lawyer told by DGS health authorities that she had to remain 14-days in quarantine following her return home from Brazil.

A statement from the Bar Association explains the lawyer, her husband and their young daughter entered Portugal from Brazil on May 2, and in spite of negative PCR tests for SARS-CoV-2, their local health delegation ordered them into 14-day quarantine.

The lawyer flatly refused. She lodged her bid for a writ of habeas corpus, contesting resolution 45-C/2021 of the Council of Ministers dated April 30 that sets out what the government means to control under the State of Calamity – and the judge agreed with her.

Indeed the judge declared article 25 of the resolution unconstitutional, in that a State of Calamity cannot enforce isolation on citizens. This would only be possible under a State of Emergency, which Portugal left on April 30.

The ruling, as innocuous as it has been presented in the Portuguese press (national headlines were “court considers prophylactic isolation for travellers from Brazil illegal”), actually opens up an enormous can of worms, as article 25 actually refers to passengers from Brazil, South Africa, and India.

For the full text of the resolution, click here