Portugal extends suspension of Brazil, UK flights

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Portugal extended a suspension of flights to and from Brazil and the UK to March 1, with only humanitarian and repatriation flights allowed, the interior ministry said in a statement.

Portugal had suspended flights to and from Brazil for a two-week period at the end of January, and had halted them for the UK from the January 21 to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19 variants.

Passengers allowed to return to Portugal must present a negative COVID-19 test taken a maximum of 72 hours before departure, and quarantine for 14 days upon return, the statement said, measures that have already been in place.

The variant first detected in Britain was first seen in Portugal at the end of last year, deemed to be partly responsible for a devastating surge in cases at the start of 2021, putting hospitals under crippling strain.

The variant first detected in Brazil appeared in Portugal for the first time on Wednesday.

Portugal, a country of 10 million people, has so far reported 15,034 COVID-19 deaths and 781,223 cases.

Main Photo: Police check the passengers documents at the departure terminal of Lisbon airport, Lisbon, Portugal. EPA-EFE/MIGUEL A. LOPES

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