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Lusa - Business News - Cabo Verde: Many Portuguese left behind by repatriation flight

Praia, Mar. 25, 2020 (Lusa) - Dozens of Portuguese people were in Praia International Airport, Cape Verde, on Tuesday night to try to board a repatriation flight operated by TAP, but some ended up not travelling because they didn't have a seat.

Early Tuesday night, two TAP planes left Lisbon for the Cape Verdean islands of Sal and Santiago (Praia), carrying several dozen Cape Verdeans on repatriation flights - the only ones authorised by Cape Verde due to the Covid-19 pandemic - to the archipelago.

They returned in the early hours of the morning with hundreds of Portuguese who already had tickets on the national airline and who saw their flights on TAP cancelled, given the ban on international flights decreed last week by the Cape Verdean government, as a preventive measure against the pandemic.

After more than five hours of waiting at the airport, Maria Chaves and her husband, Portuguese tourists in Praia, were desperate, with no place on the plane back to Lisbon.

"We were on the list, then they came to say that the plane has empty seats, but too much weight. And now we're here," she told Lusa in revolt. The couple now have no plans to return home, after seeing hundreds of others entering the departure halls.

"So much to say not to go to the airports without tickets, because of the viruses. We were told to go, we have tickets, and then they do this", said her husband, Jorge Chaves.

Manuel Duarte and his wife also waited four hours with a promise to return to Lisbon: "They called me from Portugal to go to the airport that the flight was leaving now, that they were going to close everything. Before it was just for the 27th, but I arrived here and there was no trip. I stayed outside and watched the band go by", he criticised.

Lusa noted at the airport in Praia several cases of Portuguese who, with and without a return ticket, tried, unsuccessfully, to get a place on this flight, the only known return to Lisbon, demanding explanations from the company.

At the beginning of Tuesday night, TAP announced that it had made flights to Cape Verde and Angola, "to bringing back home and to their families, more than a thousand Portuguese, and taking medical cargo and food products to Africa.

It said that a similar flight is planned for Guinea-Bissau for Wednesday and the following day for Sao Tome and Principe.

On the other hand, 139 Cape Verdean passengers arrived in Praia on the same plane, on a repatriation flight organised by the government of Cape Verde. On arrival, adults and children were immediately transported to the three hotels provided by the government to comply with the mandatory quarantine period, foreseen in the national contingency plan in force in the country.

"People are informed and sign a document in which they assume they will stay in quarantine. They will be 15 days without contacting their families," explained the National Defense Director, Colonel Armindo Sá Miranda, who coordinated the operation at Praia airport.

Cape Verde has so far registered three cases of Covid-19, a disease caused by a new coronavirus, all located on the island of Boa Vista, one of which resulted in the death of a 62-year-old English tourist on Monday.

The new coronavirus, responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic, has already infected more than 400,000 people around the world, of whom around 18,000 have died.

After the outbreak broke out in China in December, it spread around the world, which led the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare a pandemic situation.



Agency : LUSA

Date : 2020-03-26 10:22:17


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