Last Thursday, in the announcement of the new measures defined by the Council of Ministers, the chief executive, António Costa, referred that, from December 1st, “tests will be mandatory for any entry into national territory, whatever the point of origin and whatever the nationality of the passenger”.

Subsequently, the Government released a statement with the decisions of the meeting, specifying that the requirement of a negative test applies to “all flights to mainland Portugal”, which would exclude the autonomous regions of the Azores and Madeira.

The Resolution that regulates the declaration of the situation of calamity within the scope of the covid-19 pandemic, published on Saturday in the Diário da República, determines in its article 19 the "rules applicable to entry into national territory by air in matters of testing and temperature control", but number 1 of that article defines the conditions for "passengers on flights with destination or stopover in mainland Portugal", that is, which would also have to be applied to passengers originating in the Azores and Madeira.

"Airlines should only allow passengers to board flights with destination or stopover in mainland Portugal upon presentation, at the time of departure, of proof of laboratory performance of the nucleic acid amplification test (TAAN) or rapid antigen test (TRAg) for screening for SARS-CoV-2 infection with a negative result, carried out within 72 or 48 hours prior to the time of boarding, respectively [...]", is read in number 1 of article 19.º.

However, questioned by the Lusa agency, the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (PCM) clarified that "the negative test is required for all passengers arriving on mainland territory from international flights, therefore, it does not apply to flights from the autonomous regions" .

Lusa also questioned the PCM about the control of the negative test requirement in the case of passengers on flights originating abroad with direct destination or stopover at the airports in the Azores or Madeira, and the same source indicated that the provisions of the Resolution apply.

“Regarding the last question, the provisions of article 23 of the Resolution of the Council of Ministers no. 157/2021 apply to any international flight whose final destination is mainland Portugal. In the case of flights whose destination is the Azores or Madeira archipelagos, this is a matter for the autonomous regions”, he adds.