Portugal to ease Covid measures as vaccination rates rise
Portugal on Thursday said it will ease anti-coronavirus measures at the weekend thanks to declining Covid-19 infections and progress made in vaccinating the nation’s 10-million population.
ortugal on Thursday said it will ease anti-coronavirus measures at the weekend thanks to declining Covid-19 infections and progress made in vaccinating the nation’s 10-million population.
The government aims to gradually lift the restrictions in three stages from Sunday, if the vaccination rate continues to go to plan, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said.
“The time has come to move towards managing the pandemic according to the essential criterion of vaccination,” Costa told a press conference after a council of ministers.
From Sunday, shops, restaurants and theatres can stay open until 2 am, working from home will no longer be compulsory and the night-time curfew in the most affected areas will be lifted.
The government aims to have 57 percent of the population fully vaccinated by Sunday.
A health certificate showing proof of vaccination or a negative test will still be needed to stay in a hotel or enter restaurants at the weekend.
From September, when Portugal expects to have vaccinated around 70 percent of its population, masks will no longer be mandatory while on the street.
If the vaccination rate hits 85 percent by October, bars and nightclubs will be opened to people who can present a health pass or negative test.
In addition, the limit on crowds in restaurants and at public events will be lifted.
After an upsurge of infections due to the Delta variant, a more contagious and virulent strain of the virus first identified in India, there had been “a drop in cases in recent weeks”, Costa said.
“Vaccination has made a very positive contribution,” he said, adding that there had been “fewer deaths, fewer hospitalisations… and a lower incidence rate” — a gauge of the prevalence and rate at which infection is spreading.
ortugal has recorded 17,330 deaths and 963,446 cases of Covid-19, according to the latest figures from health authorities.