Portugal suspends Italy flights due to coronavirus

  • World
  • Wednesday, 11 Mar 2020

LISBON (Reuters) - Portugal on Tuesday suspended all passenger flights to and from Italy for 14 days starting on Wednesday as a preventative measure to stem the spread of coronavirus.

The move came a day after Portugal's government initially suspended flights to Italy's most affected northern regions. It expanded the suspension to the whole country due to the "evolution" of coronavirus there, a government statement said.

The government also said the measure followed Italy's drastic decision to impose a nationwide lockdown to slow Europe's worst outbreak of coronavirus.

A total of 631 people have died in Italy due to the coronavirus and there are 10,149 confirmed cases, far more than in Portugal, where the number of cases is just 41 and no deaths have been reported so far.

Even though Portugal does not have a significant number of cases, the government has implemented a series of preventative measures.

"For the Portuguese, and for most Europeans, this is a difficult time," Portugal's health minister Marta Temido told reporters during a press conference on Tuesday.

In Felgueiras and Lousada, northern municipalities where most of Portugal's confirmed coronavirus cases are concentrated, schools and public spaces were shut down on Sunday.

Portugal's government will on Wednesday evaluate a potential nationwide school shutdown to stem the spread of coronavirus.

The University of Lisbon and the University of Coimbra - one of Europe's oldest - suspended all in-person classes on Monday as a precaution.

Erasmus student Katie McHenry, from Northern Ireland, told Reuters the measure to suspend classes at her university in Lisbon was a "little extreme" but "appropriate" to stop the coronavirus from spreading "as rapidly as it has in other countries".

Portugal's flag carrier TAP has already suspended 3,500 flights scheduled between this month and May, and several large events across the country have been cancelled or postponed.

The country's booming tourism industry is already taking a toll from coronavirus cancellations.

(Reporting by Andrei Khalip, Catarina Demony and Victoria Waldersee, Editing by William Maclean)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Next In World

Director general of Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant detained by Russian patrol - Energoatom
Turkey rejects Russia's annexation of Ukrainian territory
Florida, Carolinas count the cost of Hurricane Ian
Thai vegetarian festival returns after COVID hiatus
Antonio Inoki, Japanese pro-wrestler politician with N.Korea ties, dies
Cultural ministers pledge more action to return priceless artifacts
Latvia goes to polls amid growing rift between Latvian majority and Russian minority
Cuba requests U.S. aid after Hurricane Ian knocks out power -WSJ
Dow sinks 500 points following hot U.S. inflation report
North Korea fires ballistic missile, marking fourth in a week

Others Also Read