"What, in principle, we will do is extend these restrictions until Easter," Eduardo Cabrita said on the sidelines of ceremonies commemorating the European Day for the Victims of Terrorism.

The government official acknowledged that "there is a positive evolution" of the indicators of the fight against the pandemic, both in Spain and Portugal, "which today has one of the lowest levels in Europe".

"I hope that this evolution consolidates allowing then to reopen, what we all want, a movement with precaution, but a full movement between Portugal and Spain," said Eduardo Cabrita.

The Portuguese minister, who is in Madrid as part of the current Portuguese presidency of the European Union, will have the opportunity to informally address this issue and also that of restrictions on movement between all Member States of the 27 at a lunch he has with the Spanish Minister of Internal Administration, Fernando Grande-Marlaska and the European Commissioner in the same area, Ylva Johansson.

The borders between Portugal and Spain are closed since 31 January due to the pandemic, only the movement between the two countries, at authorised crossing points, to international transport of goods, cross-border and seasonal workers duly documented, and emergency vehicles and rescue and emergency service being allowed.

These measures were taken in a coordinated manner between the two countries, after Lisbon decided on 28 January to limit travel outside mainland Portugal by any means of transport and to reinstate control at land borders.

At that time Lisbon and Madrid stipulated eight permanent crossing points between the two countries, namely in Valença, Vila Verde da Raia, Quintanilha, Vilar Formoso, Marvão, Caia, Vila Verde and Castro Marim, and six other crossing points with specific timetables.