SPAIN reopened its border with Portugal yesterday after a three month closure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and his Portuguese counterpart Antonio Costa oversaw short ceremonies in Badajoz and the Portuguese town of Elvas to mark the reopening of their 1,200-km (750 mile) border.
Both countries’ flags flew as national anthems were played at the events, which were also attended by Spain’s King Felipe and Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
“We are two fraternal peoples who share not only history, culture and affinity, but also a vision of what happened with the pandemic and the challenges and transformations that lie ahead,” Sanchez said in Elvas.
“Our shared prosperity and common destiny within the European project depend on this border being open,” Costa tweeted.
All other travel restrictions within the European Union were lifted last week.
The border had remained open to the transport of goods and cross-border workers throughout the pandemic but tourist and leisure travel had been restricted since mid-March.
Luis Pinheiro, a 53-year old construction supervisor who commutes across the border every day from the Spanish city of Badajoz to his native Portugal, welcomed the move.
“Now you can start to see friends who you’ve been missing for a long time,” he said. “There will be a big reunion and this will start to bring back the connection between the two countries.”
Most of Portugal downgraded to a “state of alert” yesterday, with gatherings still limited to 20 people,