Portugal reimposes rules as COVID-19 cases rise

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  • Portugal is one of the most vaccinated countries in the world
  • Country reimposes rules to control increase in cases
  • Air passengers must test negative for COVID-19
  • Negative test required to enter nightclubs, bars

LISBON, Nov. 25 (Reuters) – Portugal, which has one of the world’s highest COVID-19 vaccination rates, has announced it will reimpose restrictions to stop an increase in cases, ordering all passengers arriving in the country present a negative test certificate on arrival.

“No matter how successful the vaccination is, we must be aware that we are entering a phase of greater risk,” Prime Minister Antonio Costa said at a press conference on Thursday.

“We have seen significant growth (in cases) 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 dropping to 3,150 on Thursday. Deaths, however, remain well below levels seen in January, when the country faced its toughest battle against COVID-19.

Around 87% of Portugal’s population of just over 10 million is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and the country’s rapid roll-out of vaccination has been widely praised. This allowed it to lift most of its pandemic restrictions.

But, as another wave of the pandemic sweeps through Europe, the government has reintroduced some old rules and announced new ones to limit the spread as the holiday season approaches. The measures come into force next Wednesday, December 1.

‘SAVE LIVES’

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

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

Costa also announced that fully vaccinated people must also show 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, go to the gym or dine indoors in restaurants.

Those who are seated outside will not need to show the digital certificate.

Remote work, which is now recommended where possible, will be mandatory during the first week of January and students will return to school a week later than usual to control the spread of the virus after the festivities.

Costa said Portugal must continue to bet on vaccination to control the pandemic. Health officials hope to administer COVID-19 boosters to a quarter of the country’s population by the end of January.

“Vaccination has enabled us to save lives,” said the Prime Minister.

($ 1 = 0.8922 euros)

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

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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