Passengers on the special repatriation flight between Brazil and Portugal will have to comply with a 14-day quarantine after disembarkation. Those arriving in the country on commercial flights that connect to other European countries, such as France and Switzerland, are exempt from this requirement.
The disparity in treatment sparked protests on social media among some of the passengers on the flight, which leaves São Paulo for Lisbon on Saturday (27).
The formal explanation can be found in the decree of the Portuguese government that governs air traffic rules at this time of the pandemic, which has very specific rules for direct flights from Brazil and the United Kingdom (where it there are more contagious variants of the coronavirus).
In addition to only authorizing humanitarian flights – for citizens or foreigners with legal residency – the document also establishes mandatory quarantine on arrival.
As for passengers traveling from Brazil to Portugal via connections with countries in the Schengen area (European Union free movement zone), the applicable rules are those for European flights.
Prophylactic isolation, in these cases, is only mandatory for countries with an incidence rate greater than 500 cases per 100,000 population in the last 14 days.
Although direct flights have been canceled, the Portuguese government has left the option – and in many cases even guided passengers – to search for alternative routes with connections in other countries.
At the moment, however, the list of European countries that continue to open their borders for flights from Brazil is limited. Most travelers have opted for tickets via France (Paris) and Switzerland (Zurich).
Unlike many countries, which require quarantine in hotels inspected by authorities, Portugal will allow isolation of new arrivals at their homes.
Although prophylactic isolation is done “preferably at home”, authorities may give different instructions, even at the airport, to those who are prevented from doing so.
In a note, the Foreign Ministry states that there will be an inspection. “Those who do not respect solitary confinement may incur a crime of civil disobedience and / or the spread of disease and be punished with imprisonment or a fine,” the file said.
Despite the restrictions, the atmosphere is one of expectations from travelers, who have pressured authorities to make a special flight for those held back by the border closures.
Despite being advertised as a humanitarian theft by the Portuguese government, the price of the tickets was a cause for complaints – and withdrawals – by interested parties.
A report by Jornal de Notícias reports that the one-way ticket costs 1,800 euros (around R $ 12,000).
In a note, the airline TAP, responsible for the flight, denies that prices have reached such high values, but acknowledges the dynamic fares of the section. The company also draws attention to the high costs associated with operating an extraordinary flight.
Despite the reviews, tickets are no longer available.
The plane’s outbound flight, which left Lisbon to São Paulo on Friday afternoon (26), was also completed, with 298 passengers on board.
Despite the apprehensive atmosphere that preceded the trip, boarding went smoothly. There were concerns that there would be protests from people excluded from the theft, which did not happen.
Since the borders were closed, hundreds of Brazilians have reported difficulty staying in the European country.
Most of those affected were immigrants who were unemployed due to the pandemic and who had already purchased tickets to return to Brazil. Without jobs, many already resort to the help of NGOs and religious entities even for food.
With nowhere to live, a Brazilian family, including three children, came to camp at Lisbon airport while waiting for a trip. In addition to being forced to leave the site, they were also fined for not respecting the lockdown in force in the country.
Given the large number of people who could not board the additional flights, the Portuguese government is already analyzing the realization of other trips.
The ban on air links runs until March 1, but can be extended.