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Portugal open to most European tourists today


LISBON, Portugal (AFP) — Portugal will open to tourists from nearly all European countries from today, the interior ministry said, following months of restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The vacation hot spot hopes to jump-start a tourism comeback after one of the country’s most vital industries was brought to a standstill by the pandemic.

Travellers from most European Union (EU) countries, the 26-nation Schengen Area and the United Kingdom (UK) can make “all types of visits to Portugal, including even non-essential visits”, the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

But travel from countries with coronavirus rates above 500 cases per 100,000 residents during the last 14 days will remain restricted to essential trips — currently affecting Cyprus, Croatia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Sweden.

The ministry stressed restrictions also remained on non-European countries including Brazil, India, and South Africa.

“We’re not opening tourism to the whole world. Restrictions remain for third (non-EU) countries,” a ministry spokeswoman said.

Under the rules, all passengers above two years old heading to the country will still have to present a negative polymerase chain reaction COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before embarking.

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