According to Lusa news agency, dozens of passengers from the United Kingdom were held for several hours at Faro airport, some of them for more than four hours causing them to miss travel connections.
The confusion came following new rules imposed by Portugal requiring anyone arriving from the UK to have a negative Covid-19 test result with them.
“The arrival of passengers without a covid-19 test at Faro airport, en mass , caused embarrassment and greater delays in this procedure. ANA is, together with the other authorities, working to improve conditions and reduce passengers' discomfort,” a spokesman from ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal said.
The same source said that resources at the Faro laboratory that is doing the tests at the airport have been reinforced, taking into account the high number of passengers arriving without having taken a test.
The Portuguese Government decreed restrictions on the entry into Portugal, as of 21 December, relating to passengers on flights from the United Kingdom, allowing only nationals or those legally resident in Portugal to enter, following the identification in the UK of a more contagious variant of the new coronavirus, which causes covid-19 disease.
Upon arrival in Portugal, passengers who meet the entry requirements must present a negative screening laboratory test for SARS-Coov-2. According to the Portuguese Government, if they do not have a negative test for covid-19, passengers will be "directed by the competent authorities" to "carry out the test inside the airport, by qualified health professionals".
According to Lusa, passengers arriving on a Ryanair flight that landed at 16:30 in Faro were still waiting in line to take the test at around 20:00.
The sources said that several passengers ended up not taking the test, which they would have to pay €100, and instead received a declaration to take the test in the next 48 hours.
The restrictions imposed by the Portuguese Government had led airlines to decide not to board passengers who were not equipped with the covid-19 test, however the government has since clarified that nationals who travel from the UK and who do not have proof of a negative test will be redirected to perform the screening at the airport where they land.