Passengers wearing protective face masks walk at Lisbon's airport. File picture: Rafael Marchante/Reuters
Passengers wearing protective face masks walk at Lisbon's airport. File picture: Rafael Marchante/Reuters

Portugal to quarantine travellers arriving from South Africa via other countries

By Reuters Time of article published Mar 20, 2021

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Lisbon - Passengers arriving in Portugal from South Africa via a stopover in another country must also quarantine for 14 days and present a negative Covid-19 test taken 72 hours before arrival, the interior ministry said on Saturday.

Direct flights from South Africa have already been halted and although few cases of the Covid-19 variant first detected in South Africa have been diagnosed in Portugal so far, the measure was intended to prevent any further spread, the ministry said.

Flights to and from Brazil and Britain have been suspended until the end of the month, also to prevent contagion of Covid-19 variants. Passengers arriving through a different country must also test and quarantine.

Portugal, which has so far reported 816 623 Covid-19 cases and 16 754 deaths, began easing a nationwide lockdown on March 11, but has kept travel restrictions, including controls on its border with Spain, in place.

More than 100 countries have banned arrivals from South Africa due to the highly infectious new Covid-19 variant N501Y, which was first detected in the Eastern Cape late in 2020.

The bans continue to be put in place despite the fact that South Africa has in recent week seen a marked decline in new daily cases and even downgraded to an alert level one lockdown.

Europe is currently experiencing a fresh wave of coronavirus cases which has resulted in France, Poland and Ukraine on Saturday implementing new lockdown measures aimed at curbing the further spread of the virus.

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