Portugal resets rules as number of COVID-19 cases rises – Community News
Covid-19

Portugal resets rules as number of COVID-19 cases rises

  • Portugal is one of the world’s most vaccinated countries
  • Country Resets Rules To Control Rise In Cases
  • Airline passengers must show a negative COVID-19 test
  • Negative test required to enter nightclubs, bars

LISBON, Nov. 25 (Reuters) – Portugal, which has one of the world’s highest vaccination rates against COVID-19, announced it would again impose restrictions to stop a rise in the number of cases, and all passengers entering the country order entry to show a negative test certificate on arrival.

“No matter how successful the vaccination was, we need to be aware that we are entering a phase of greater risk,” Prime Minister Antonio Costa told a news conference on Thursday.

“We have seen (in some cases) significant growth in the EU and Portugal is not an island,” he added.

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Portugal reported 3,773 new cases on Wednesday, the highest daily figure in four months, before falling to 3,150 on Thursday. However, deaths remain well below January levels, when the country endured the toughest battle against COVID-19.

About 87% of Portugal’s population of just over 10 million people has been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and the rapid rollout of vaccinations is widely acclaimed. That has allowed it to lift most of its pandemic restrictions.

But as a new wave of pandemic sweeps through Europe, the government has reintroduced some old rules and announced new ones to limit the spread in the run-up to the holiday season. The measures will come into effect next Wednesday, December 1.

‘SAV LIVES’

Speaking of the new travel rule, Costa said airlines will be fined 20,000 euros ($22,416) per passenger if they transport anyone who does not carry evidence of a COVID-19 test, including those who have been fully vaccinated.

Passengers can undergo a PCR or a rapid antigen test 72 hours or 48 hours prior to departure, respectively.

Costa also announced that those who have been fully vaccinated would also need to provide proof of a negative coronavirus test to enter nightclubs, bars, major events and care homes, and that the EU digital certificate would be required to stay in hotels, to going to the gym or dining indoors at restaurants.

Anyone sitting outside does not have to show the digital certificate.

Remote working, which is now recommended where possible, will become mandatory in the first week of January and students will return to school a week later than usual to help contain the spread of the virus after the holiday festivities.

Costa said Portugal must continue to commit to vaccination to get the pandemic under control. Health authorities hope to boost a quarter of the country’s population against COVID-19 by the end of January.

“Vaccination has enabled us to save lives,” said the prime minister.

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Reporting by Catarina Demony, Patrícia Vicente Rua and Sérgio Gonçalves; Editing by Susan Fenton, Kirsten Donovan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.