Portugal relaxes COVID rules for English fans at Champions League final
People are seen taking pictures next to an inflatable model of the Champions League cup in Porto's central Aliados square as thousands of English fans make their way to Portugal's northern city for the League's final match and hotels and bars hope for a boost after the tourism sector was ravaged by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Porto, Portugal May 26, 2021. REUTERS/Violeta Santos Moura

Portuguese authorities have relaxed COVID-19 safety rules for thousands of English fans coming to Porto for Saturday’s Champions League final, no longer requiring them to stay in bubbles and lifting restrictions on movement.

“The borders are open. The city and the country are opening up little by little. Within what is possible, freedom (of movement) will not be conditioned,” Porto police Superintendent Cardoso da Silva told a news briefing on Thursday.

“There are no restrictions of movement for fans.”

Metropolitan Police Superintendent Lysander Strong said the two clubs had sent recommendations to fans to follow social distancing rules and wear a mask.

Since May 17, British visitors have been allowed into Portugal with proof of a negative PCR test result.

Silva said that around 80 charter flights with English soccer fans were expected to land on Saturday for the clash between Manchester City and Chelsea.

Under the rules announced two weeks ago, when UEFA moved the event to Porto from Istanbul, passengers were to fly back within 24 hours. But police spokesman Marco Almeida said that now they can stay longer if they choose not to take scheduled return flights.

“Portugal is a nice liberal society and they (fans) are free to go wherever they want to go,” said Strong.

Eight British police officers specialised in dealing with football fans are in Portugal and will work with Portuguese police to guarantee public order.

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