Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Travellers Wait for Hours at Portuguese Airport to Get Tested for COVID-19

Passengers have been facing hours-long queues at Faro airport in Portugal, and some have even missed their flights while waiting to get tested for COVID-19 in order to return to their home countries.

People who didn’t take the Algarve Tourism Association (RTA) recommendation to get tested at local laboratories before they take off, have been especially affected by the long waiting queues, as well as travellers from non-Schengen countries.

Despite being said that there are more than 160 laboratories in the Algarve region, where Faro airport is located, to carry out the exams, many tourists have been facing difficulties at border control, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

While on Sunday, passengers had issues getting tested at COVID test zones, on Saturday, they faced long queues at the passport control area. The combination of queues and waiting for test results left some of the passengers waiting for almost three hours.

The Foreigners and Borders Service at Faro Airport could not handle the capacity of work, despite the reinforcement of seven inspectors who came to Algarve in a bid to assist the forces until May 31. Last weekend, Faro Airport recorded 189 flights and over 8,000 passengers.

According to the Independent Communication Society (SIC), many tourists missed RTA information to get tested at local laboratories.

Previously, the European Commission approved a €462 million loan for the Portuguese Air Transport (TAP) to compensate the company for the damage caused due to Coronavirus from March 19 to June 30, 2020.

Following the move, the Executive Vice President of the European Commission, Valdes Dombrovkis, hopes that tourism will help Portugal, which holds the Council of the European Union’s presidency, to revive its economy, significantly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

“With regards to tourism in Portugal, we can see that already the sector is gradually starting to reopen and tourists are starting to arrive again, so it is expected that it will also contribute to the recovery of the Portuguese economy,” the EU Commission Vice President, Dombrovkis said during an informal meeting in Lisbon.

Starting on May 17, Portugal opened its borders for travellers from EU member states, Schengen zone countries, and the United Kingdom, allowing them to enter the country for tourism without quarantine.

“Non-essential travellers from the UK are allowed to enter Portugal as of the 00:00 of May 17, but must present proof of a negative test for COVID-19 (RT-PCR), carried out within 72 hours before boarding time,” the authorities said.

According to Worldometers’ statistics, Portugal currently counts 22,933 active cases, 17,025 deaths, and 809,135 people have recovered from the virus.

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