LISBON, March 20 (Reuters) – Portugal said on Saturday that passengers arriving from South Africa via a stopover in another country must also quarantine for 14 days and present a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours before arrival, the interior ministry said on Saturday.

Direct flights from South Africa have already been halted and although few cases of the COVID-19 variant first detected in South Africa have been diagnosed in Portugal so far, the measure was intended to prevent any further spread, the ministry said.

Flights to and from Brazil and Britain have been suspended until the end of the month, also to prevent contagion of COVID-19 variants. Passengers arriving through a different country must also test and quarantine.

Portugal, which has so far reported 816,623 COVID-19 cases and 16,754 deaths, began easing a nationwide lockdown on March 11, but has kept travel restrictions, including controls on its border with Spain, in place. (Reporting by Victoria Waldersee; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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