In light of the epidemiological situation of COVID-19 in China, the Portuguese Government has decided to proceed with the implementation of monitoring measures for the SARS-CoV-2 virus on flights from that country.

As of January 7th, 2023, passengers on flights coming from China will be subject to mandatory random testing for genomic sequencing of the variants in circulation, in order to contribute to scientific knowledge and an adequate evaluation of the epidemiological situation, which will steer the decision-making process in the immediate future.

The testing will already be applied to passengers on the flight from China that lands in Lisbon this Saturday, January 7th.

At the same time, wastewater monitoring mechanisms will be applied at Lisbon's Humberto Delgado International Airport and on the aircrafts coming from China, in order to identify the SARS-CoV-2 virus and proceed to the genomic sequencing.

Subsequently, starting at midnight of January 14th, 2023, the date of the next flight from China, passengers coming from that country will have to present, at the time of boarding, a negative test, either PCR or TRAg, performed no later than 48 hours before the start of the flight.

This requirement makes airlines responsible for compliance with the measure at boarding, and in case this obligation is not me, airlines are subject to fines.

Passengers and crew on flights to and from China must wear masks during the flight and reinforce hygiene measures, including hand washing and disinfection.

This set of measures is adopted in a coordinated manner throughout the European Union.

It is important to note that, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) risk assessment of December 22nd, 2022, the increase in the number of cases of COVID-19 in China is not expected to have an impact on the epidemiological situation of the European Union (EU), taking into consideration the vaccination coverage of the population, knowledge and preparedness of health systems.

It is important to reinforce that in this period, when there are more respiratory viruses in circulation, health authorities recommend the adoption of individual protection measures, including respiratory etiquette, frequent hand washing, ventilation of spaces and additional protection measures in contexts of higher risk of exposure (such as spaces with crowds of people, especially without adequate ventilation), through distancing and the possible use of masks.

Lastly, all eligible individuals are once again urged to have the vaccination or booster dose against COVID-19, the most important individual and population protection measure against this and other future threats from the SARS-CoV-2 virus. 

January 6th, 2023

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