Portugal bans all UK flights to tackle rapid spread of new COVID-19 variant

FILE PHOTO: Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa addresses European lawmakers during the presentation of the programme of activities of the Portugal's Presidency on a plenary session at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium January 20, 2021. Francisco Seco/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

LISBON (Reuters) - Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Thursday that all flights to and from Britain would be suspended from Saturday onwards as Portugal scrambles to tackle the rapid spread of the new variant of the coronavirus.

Only repatriation flights will be allowed between both countries, Costa told a news conference. He described the measure as a move to reduce the “risk of contagion” due to the new, more contagious variant of the coronavirus discovered in Britain, which is spreading across Portugal.

Reporting by Catarina Demony; Editing by