Portugal extends COVID-19 air travel curbs until mid-May

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LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal said on Saturday it was extending until May 16 flight restrictions that stop non-essential travel from countries with high coronavirus incidence rates, including Brazil and India — a new addition to the list.

Travellers from countries where 500 or more cases per 100,000 people have been reported over a 14-day period — which also include South Africa, France and the Netherlands, among others — can only enter Portugal if they have a valid reason, such as for work or healthcare, the government said. They must then quarantine for 14 days.

People from countries where the incidence rate is 150 or more COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, such as next-door Spain and Germany, can also travel by plane to Portugal only for essential reasons.

They will have to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure for Portugal. Those without a test will have to take one upon arrival and wait for the result at the airport.

The extension of air travel restrictions came on the same day most of Portugal moved to the final phase of a gradual easing of rules imposed in January to tackle what was then the world’s worst COVID-19 surge.

As infections dropped sharply, lockdown restrictions started to be eased in mid-March. Schools, restaurants and cafes, shopping malls, museums and other non-essential services have since reopened, but under strict rules to reduce contagion risk.

Portugal’s 1,200-km-long land border with Spain also reopened on Saturday after more than three months of restrictions and border checks. (Reporting by Catarina Demony; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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