Covid 19 Delta outbreak: What life is like in the most vaccinated country in the world

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People fill a recovery room after receiving the coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination center in Lisbon, Portugal. Photo / AP

The country with the highest Covid vaccination rate in the world is on the verge of lifting almost all of its restrictions.

In a matter of months, Portugal went from the highest number of Covid cases in the world proportional to its population, to a re-emergence of the pandemic on October 1 with only a few rules persisting.

In January, ambulances lined up outside Lisbon hospitals as health services struggled to cope with the influx of infections – in one week 86,000 new cases and nearly 2,000 deaths – but within days only the majority of the restrictions imposed on the country will have disappeared.

Rear Admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo, center, visits a vaccination center in Lisbon.  Photo / AP
Rear Admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo, center, visits a vaccination center in Lisbon. Photo / AP

The turnaround is due to surprisingly high vaccination rates in Portugal.

The nation went from immunizing just 7,000 citizens per day in January to three months later, to 44,000 daily injections in April and 150,000 doses per day at its peak of immunization on July 12.

Covid

Portugal now has a vaccination rate of 83.4% of its population, or 8.5 million people with a double injection.

In a few days, nightclubs and bars will be allowed to reopen to those with a digital vaccination certificate or a negative Covid-19 test, after being closed since March 2020.

A woman wearing a face mask looks out over downtown Lisbon, Portugal.  Photo / AP
A woman wearing a face mask looks out over downtown Lisbon, Portugal. Photo / AP

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonino Costa said last week that once the October reopening is underway, there will only be a handful of restrictions in place.

“As most of the restrictions imposed by the law disappear, we will enter a phase which rests on the responsibility of each one,” he said.

“We must not forget that the pandemic is not over.”

Among the few measures that remain in place, wearing a mask is compulsory on public transport, during major events, in nursing homes, hospitals, shopping centers and hypermarkets. Masks ceased to be mandatory outdoors last week.

From October 1, there will be no restrictions on the number of people allowed to sit together in restaurants and cafes, or to attend cultural events, weddings and baptisms.

During the pandemic, the country reported at least 1,064,876 cases and more than 17,938 deaths.


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