New procedures for flights and ships regarding Covid-19

  • Lusa
  • 7 January 2022

Portugal has defined new procedures to be adopted when cases of Covid-19 are detected in air and sea travel, such as cruise ships.

The ordinance that defines the procedures to be adopted when cases of Covid-19 are detected in air and sea travel, such as cruise ships, was published this Friday and comes into force on Saturday.

The ordinance establishes “the procedures to be adopted by the different stakeholders for collaboration with the health authorities when conducting the epidemiological investigation of confirmed cases of Covid-19 and screening of contacts with a history of travel by air or sea during the infectious period.

According to the document, the health authority that verifies the existence of infections should contact the local health authority of the airport or port where the passenger infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus disembarked, informing the regional health authority to implement the necessary procedures to identify contacts of the Covid-19 case who travelled on the same flight or cruise ship.

“If the airport or port belongs to a different health region, the local health authority responsible for the epidemiological investigation must communicate to the regional health authority the need for liaison with the health authority of the health region of the airport or port in question,” it states.

The ordinance also states that the health authority of the place where the airport or port is located must access the database of the passenger location form, through the platform created and supported for this purpose by the Shared Services of the Ministry of Health, and select the information to be exported relating to the contacts of the Covid-19 case.

The document also states that if the destination of the passenger identified as a Covid-19 case contact is in a different health region from the place of arrival, or if the passenger is in transit or transfer, the regional health authority will liaise with the regional health authority of the destination, so that it complies with the provisions of the previous number.

“The information on passengers who are no longer in Portugal is sent by the regional health authority to the public health emergency centre of the Directorate-General for Health so that the national focal point of International Health can communicate with the health authorities of other countries,” the ordinance states.

The document, signed by the Assistant Secretaries of State and Internal Administration, Health and Communications, also states that the entities responsible for managing airport or port infrastructure and airlines or cruise ship owners or their legal representatives should provide all collaboration requested by the health authorities within the scope of the epidemiological investigation of cases of Covid-19. The security forces should support health authorities, particularly in the search for passengers.