Portugal to drop coronavirus test requirement for arriving passengers

A medical staff member wearing protective gear holds a coronavirus sample of a resident at a drive-through screening and testing facility at the port city of Karachi. Rizwan TABASSUM - AFP

Portugal will drop a requirement to present a negative COVID-19 test for air passengers arriving with a valid digital European Union certificate or recognised proof of vaccination, the government said on Thursday.

The move, approved in a cabinet meeting, is aligned with European Union rules.

In a statement, the government said negative tests will no longer be required for “those who present the EU COVID Digital Certificate in any of its modalities or other proof of vaccination that has been recognised”.

It did not say when the decision would take effect, but the rules now in force were meant to last until Feb. 9.

The Interior Ministry, which is responsible for the entry of people into the country, could not immediately provide further details, including whether British or American proof of vaccination would be considered valid.

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The EU digital certificate is issued to people who have been vaccinated, received a negative test result or have proof of recovery from COVID-19.

In early January, Portugal eased some COVID curbs allowing students to return to schools and nightclubs to reopen but kept the negative test requirement to all passengers entering the country.

Portugal is one of the world’s most vaccinated nations, with nearly 90% of its people fully inoculated, and although the infection numbers and incidence are still near record levels, hospitalisations and deaths are well below year-ago peaks.

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