he President of the Government of the Azores announced today that passengers arriving in the region will be able to choose to carry out a test on departure, or on arrival in the Azores, comply with a voluntary quarantine period or return to the origin.

“Four options are given to passengers who, as of today, arrive in the Azores: travel already with a negative test done before departure; undergo a test upon arrival in the region and wait for the result; or comply with a voluntary quarantine period of 14 days in a specific hotel, with the costs borne by the Region; or return to their original destination ”, declared Vasco Cordeiro.

The measures take effect at 00:00 on Sunday.

The President of the Government spoke at a press conference in Ponta Delgada, following the decision of the Ponta Delgada Court, which granted today a request for immediate release (‘habeas corpus’) made by a plaintiff against the imposition of quarantine in hotels by part of the Government of the Azores.

The measures were taken following today’s meeting of the Government Council, which, under the Legal Regime of the Civil Protection System of the Autonomous Region of the Azores, decreed the situation of public calamity on the islands of São Miguel and Terceira, islands with connections with the outside world, in the context of combating the covid-19 pandemic.

Vasco Cordeiro stated that “if a passenger refuses any of these options, violates voluntary quarantine or prophylactic isolation, mandatory quarantine in a hotel will be determined, assuming, in this case, all the respective financial costs by a decision of his own”.

As is currently the case, the Azorean executive maintains for passengers who are subject to mandatory quarantine, the obligation to perform a screening test on the 14th day.

Vasco Cordeiro considered that another of the consequences that the decision of the Court of Ponta Delgada “can have, is that the approximately 350 passengers coming from abroad and who are, at the moment, fulfilling quarantine in hotels, may eventually decide to abandon that quarantine. ”, Something that, according to the President of the Government,“ some have already done ”.

The head of the Azorean executive said that “as soon as there was knowledge of the ‘Habeas Corpus’ request, it was determined that the health authorities carry out the collection of biological samples and subsequent screening tests for these passengers”, a measure “in order to avoid potential risks of the emergence of transmission chains on the islands of São Miguel and Terceira ”.

“These passengers were also informed that, if they so wished, and only if they so wished, they could abandon the hotels where they were staying in compliance with the mandatory quarantine,” said Vasco Cordeiro.

Ryanair and SATA are not operating between the continent and the region, but TAP continues to have connections, albeit to a lesser extent than usual, between Lisbon and Ponta Delgada and Lisbon and Angra do Heroísmo.

So far, 145 cases of infection have been detected in the Azores, with 105 recovered, 16 deaths and 24 positive cases active for infection with the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes covid-19 disease, of which 16 in São Miguel, two in Graciosa, one in São Jorge, three in Pico and two in Faial.T