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11 Mar 2020 | 05:42 AM UTC

Portugal: Government temporarily suspends flights to and from Italy March 10 /update 3

Government announces temporary suspension of all flights to and from Italy on March 10; confirm travel itineraries

entry/exit
health
transportation
PRT

Event

On Tuesday, March 10, the Portuguese government announced that all flights between Portugal and Italy will be suspended for 14 days, starting Wednesday, March 11, to prevent further spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The measure is projected to apply until Tuesday, March 24. Portuguese authorities closed schools in the most severely affected areas of Felgueiras and Lousada on Sunday, March 8, while a nationwide school shutdown could potentially be announced on Wednesday.

On Monday, March 9, Portugal's flag carrier TAP suspended 2500 flights scheduled between March and May amid a drop in consumer demand due to the coronavirus. The announcement came four days after the airline grounded 1000 flights scheduled through April.

As of March 11, there are 41 confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "very high" at the global level.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone non-essential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.

In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, travelers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.