Everything changes for airline passengers with Covid digital certificates… but not in Portugal

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Under new EU ‘rules’ (which are essentially recommendations), today is the day airline passengers with valid Covid digital certificates can fly anywhere in EU space without being bound by “any other form of extraordinary restrictions to contain the pandemic”.

But things didn’t quite turn out that way. Portugal still requires incoming visitors to show proof of a negative test for Covid-19 – and fines them and the airline they traveled with, if they fail to do so.

This practice has been in place since December 1 and is expected to continue until February 9. Yes, the TV news is suggesting that the government might bump the deadline with a new announcement (to the effect that it will align with EU policy), but for now, Portugal‘s rules are the rules. of Portugal (not recommendations) – and they have been very effective in accumulating fines, whether they have been paid or not.

As of January 31, more than 2,800 passengers have reportedly been fined for failing to arrive with the required negative test validation, and 41 airlines risk paying a minimum of €20,000 per passenger for failing to insure themselves. that people had the right papers before boarding.

Meanwhile, stories today announcing the new EU policy add to the confusion by insisting that “passengers should (still) inform themselves about the rules in each of the countries they are traveling to”.

Another gray area is the fact that digital Covid certificates must have a validity period of nine months, “from the conclusion of the first vaccine inoculations”.

This is far from being “clear”, insofar as the nine-month period “does not apply to certificates of booster shots”.

Then comes the final conclusion of today’s reports: “Experts predict that the majority of Europeans will either acquire natural immunity due to contact with the virus, or develop protection through vaccination. For this reason, several Member States have already announced the lifting of the impositions and restrictions in place…”, regardless of the “recommendations” of the EU.

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