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Covid-19: Passengers held for several hours at Faro airport for testing

COVID-19: PASSENGERS HELD FOR SEVERAL HOURS AT FARO AIRPORT FOR TESTINGFollowing the new rules instated for people arriving in Portugal from the United Kingdom, dozens of passengers were held for several hours at Faro airport yesterday, some of them more than four hours and missing other connections, in order to take a Covid-19 test before entering Portugal.

“The arrival of passengers without a Covid-19 test at Faro airport, in a massive way, caused embarrassment and greater delay in this procedure. ANA is, together with the other authorities, working to improve conditions and reduce passengers’ discomfort,” said an official from ANA.

The same source said that the resources of the Faro laboratory that is doing the tests at the airport have been reinforced, due to the high number of passengers arriving without having taken a Covid-19 test.

The Portuguese Government decreed restrictions on the entry of flight passengers from the United Kingdom from last weekend, limiting entry to Portuguese nationals or legal residents in Portugal, following news of the UK suffering a new more contagious variant of the coronavirus, which causes the Covid-19 disease. 

Upon arrival in Portugal, all no Portuguese national or non-resident passengers must currently present a negative laboratory test of SARS-Cov-2 to meet the entry requirements. According to the Portuguese Government, if they do not have a negative test for Covid-19, passengers will be “directed by the relevant authorities” to “carry out the said test inside the airport, through qualified health professionals”, whilst in isolation.

It is rumoured that passengers arriving on a Ryanair flight that landed at Faro at 16:30 yesterday were still waiting in line to take the test at around 20:00. Sources said that several passengers ended up not taking the test, for which they would have to pay 100 euros, instead receiving a declaration to take the test in the next 48 hours.

Today, the restrictions imposed by the Portuguese Government has led airlines to decide not to board passengers to Portugal who were not equipped with the Covid-19 test.

The objective of the new entry restrictions is that, “transiently”, national citizens and legally resident in Portugal who do not have proof of having performed a negative test should be sent by the relevantauthorities, upon arrival in Portugal, to carry out the said test inside the airport, through health professionals qualified for the purpose (staying in isolation under the terms defined by health authorities).

On Saturday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new measures in London and the south east of England, including the recommendation against travel abroad, due to the new variant detected.

Several countries, including Germany, France, Canada, the Netherlands or Italy, decided to suspend all travel from the United Kingdom, after the appearance of this more contagious variant of the virus.

Original article available in Portuguese at http://postal.pt/