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Portugal extends Brazil and UK flight suspension

Portugal will extend its suspension of flights to and from Brazil and the United Kingdom until April 15, the government said Monday, in a bid to limit the spread of Covid-19 variants.

Only residents of Portugal and the European Union will be able to travel between the three countries if they present a negative PCR test conducted within 72 hours of departure, the interior ministry said in a statement.

They will also have to undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Portugal.

Portugal had suspended flights to and from Brazil and the United Kingdom at the end of January when coronavirus variants thought to be more contagious were detected in both countries.

The ministry also said that travellers from other countries registering Covid-19 infections at rate of 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants or more — such as France or Italy — are required to quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Portugal by air or land.

The country was put under a second lockdown in mid-January before registering a record one-day rate of 16,500 new infections on January 28.

But since that peak Portugal has seen a drop in cases that has allowed the government to ease restrictions gradually.

On Sunday, the country of 10 million people recorded 10 deaths and 365 new infections in 24 hours, according to a daily update published by the national health authorities.