Today he took the last flight to Lisbon, to meet his wife, before the suspension of flights between the two countries announced for 00:00 on Monday, as part of the closure of ports from Europe to southern Africa to prevent the entry of a new variant of the covid-19 virus.
For Orlando it was an unexpected expense of 4,500 euros for three one-way tickets at TAP, something that “was not in the least in the plans”, but “is an emergency situation”, in the case of a family reunion.
An expense with another aggravating factor: having a vaccine or a negative test does not free anyone from a 14-day quarantine on arrival in Portugal, something that, even so, he sees as “a lesser evil”.
The greatest harm would be “staying away from the family” during the festive season, because after today’s flight, it is not known when there will be more connections to Portugal, despite restrictions providing for exceptions, such as humanitarian or repatriation flights – but without details.
Orlando Marques leaves with his two daughters while Carolina and Rui Alves arrive from Lisbon on the same plane for 10 days of humanitarian work in Mozambique.
Only when they landed do they know that the flights will be suspended indefinitely, so they will have to understand how they are going to travel back to Portugal.
“We had a return scheduled for the 6th, but now we don’t know”, says Carolina.
The measures are “the costume, it’s more of the same”, Rui vents, with Carolina adding that the measure doesn’t seem more appropriate in a context with “people vaccinated and being tested” before the trip.
Opinions are divided.
Mário Marques was in Mozambique on business and on Friday night he ran to his computer to still get tickets for today’s flight, because “from now on, it’s not known” how it will be.
“These are measures that are undoubtedly justified, given this new variant and at the time of the year when there is a lot of people’s mobilization. It is necessary to prevent a more significant spread” of covid-19, he said.
Understanding even given the losses, because he had to cancel the program of meetings he had in Mozambique and when he arrived in Portugal he will still have to adapt to a quarantine.
A little way back, at the entrance to the international terminal at Maputo airport, there is Fernando Amaral, with companies in Mozambique and who had already been deprived of being in the country for several months due to the pandemic.
Now he was forced to cancel the meetings and return to Portugal sooner.
“The flight was scheduled for the 4th, but I still got this at midnight”, bearing the cost of anticipation and getting a saber for Lusa, who will have to complete 14 days of quarantine.
“I think it’s a bit exaggerated, because when people get vaccinated, I think maybe they’re too cautious,” he says.
Catarina Luz was also unaware of the quarantine upon arrival, a new measure announced on Friday night.
“If I have to, I’ll have to do it. I have to do with my work how I’ll do it,” she said on her way to the departure lounge.
A situation that seems to be more distressing for some Mozambican parents who say goodbye to their children, who are going to study in Portugal, and who are also left with a saber for Lusa that there is a 14-day quarantine to fulfill on arrival.
“It’s difficult. Classes have already graduated, there have already been exams, we’re late”, due to the visa period process and adding another 14 days to the scenario is adding up uncertainties, complains Carla Bacar.
“I didn’t know about the quarantine and he never went to Portugal,” he laments, giving his son a last hug.
Oelza Machava, another student departing for Portugal, calms the tempers: “I think they’ll notice them”, says the architecture student in Évora, who is happy to have a trip scheduled for the last flight before the suspension of connections.
“Knowing that from Monday they will close doors, I was happy” to still manage to reach Portugal, so “being quarantined is the least” and he believes he will have help from colleagues in the confinement logistics.
But a consensus does not exist.
“I think this is a bit unreasonable, because it takes everyone by surprise. It would be easier to put a brigade there” to test everyone on arrival, indispensable Luis Friães.
At the side, Dipak Govan is a saber for Lusa that from Monday flights are suspended and places with disbelief.
“Is that right? TAP diverts its flight to Mozambique. We need it. The PALOP [Países Africanos de Língua Oficial Portuguesa] need the TAP, “he highlighted.
Herman Garcia is in transit to Barcelona and questions the measures.
“Sometimes there are hasty decisions, but it is an extraordinary situation and you have to be patient”, he concludes.
Read Also: Portugal suspends flights to and from Mozambique from Monday