Portugal returns to Covid restrictions despite high job rates


Portugal is rolling back some of the toughest pandemic restrictions, less than two months after most of them were lifted when the target of vaccinating 86% of the population against COVID-19 was met.

The recent rise in coronavirus infections forced the government to act, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Thursday, though he said his country had not seen a rise on the scale seen elsewhere in Europe.

new covid-specific rules

It will be mandatory to wear face masks once again in closed places from December 1. A digital certificate proving vaccination or recovery from the coronavirus must be shown to enter restaurants, cinemas and hotels; And even those vaccinated must have a negative test to go to hospitals, elderly care homes, sporting events and bars and discos.

In addition, everyone flying from abroad must submit a negative test result.

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The government also recommended regular self-testing and work from home whenever possible.

The rollout of booster shots is being accelerated, Costa said.

The measures are needed, Costa said, because of a rise in cases in some other EU countries, because a near winter usually brings more respiratory infections, and because families will be in close contact over Christmas.

Officials say another lockdown is not currently needed in Portugal, as hospitals are coping.

The General Directorate for Health officially reported 3,150 new cases on Thursday, with 691 people in hospital, 103 in intensive care units and 15 deaths. The number of hospitalized patients was the highest since September.

On 1 November, Portugal reported fewer than 500 new infections, 360 people hospitalised, 60 in intensive care and five deaths. Those numbers were the same as a month ago.

Around 18,400 people have died of Covid-19 in a country of around 10.3 million.