The government of Portugal has called the decision, announced Thursday (14), to stop flights between the country and the United Kingdom as absurd, because of the Portuguese connection with Brazil.
“It is a measure which surprises us very negatively because it seems absurd. To say that you have to suspend the air links from Portugal to the United Kingdom because Portugal has air links with Brazil, is a justification which, with everything Respect that I owe you, don’t get it, ”Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva said in statements on TSF radio.
The Portuguese foreign minister said contacts were already underway with British authorities to reverse the restrictions.
“We very much hope that these absurd decisions will be revoked as soon as possible,” he added.
Worried about a new variant of the coronavirus, the British have banned the entry, from this Friday (15), of people from Brazil and 15 other localities, mainly in South America.
Portugal was the only European country included in the list, which also includes Argentina, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.
British Transport Minister Grant Shapps justified the decision to ban travel from Portugal due to “close ties [portuguesas] in Brazil”.
The Portuguese foreign minister said his country’s health authorities have yet to identify any cases of the new Brazilian variant of the coronavirus.
Augusto Santos Silva also drew attention to the fact that Portugal, at the moment, only allows entry to Brazilians who reside in the country or who travel for essential reasons, such as work and study.
In addition, the minister stressed, negative tests are also required for Covid-19 on those traveling from Brazil.
On social media, the Portuguese have revolted over the British decision – there is a large Portuguese community in the UK.
Some have also criticized Portuguese diplomacy, noting that neighboring Spain, which has close ties with several of the South American countries covered by the UK restrictions, has not been affected by the decision.
After three weeks of accelerated growth of Covid-19 cases which left the country with the fourth highest death rate per million inhabitants in the European Union, Portugal enters this Friday (15) into a new period of general confinement.