Covid resurgence slows lifting of Lisbon lockdown
The Portuguese government on Wednesday decided to slow down the process of post-lockdown reopening in Lisbon and three other municipalities after a hike in new coronavirus cases.
Braga and Vale de Cambra in the north and Odemira in the south are the other affected areas which will keep its current lockdown measures in place until at least June 27.
In these places working from home will remain obligatory where possible whereas in the rest of the country it will only be recommended after June 14, the date of the next phase of lockdown.
Also in Lisbon and the other higher infection areas, restaurants will have to close at 10:30 pm, while in the rest of the country they will be able to stay open until 1 am.
“The situation of these municipalities does not allow us to continue deconfinement,” said government spokeswoman Mariana Vieira da Silva after ministers met and made the decisions, stressing that the number of Covid-19 cases had increased in Lisbon, especially among younger people.
For the rest of the country the easing of lockdown restrictions will continue according to plans set out by the government at the start of the month.
Under these plans a range of activities will once again be allowed, including a return of the public to sports arenas, though only up to a third of a venue’s capacity.
The government on Wednesday also announced compulsory Covid-19 tests for companies with more than 150 employees, and for certain public gatherings.
Hit by a strong wave of the coronavirus over the winter, Portugal introduced strict confinement measures from mid-January to mid-March before beginning the gradual easing of the safety measures.
Under the scheme, bars and nightclubs will remain closed until late August.
A total of 890 new coronavirus cases were registered in Portugal on Wednesday, but no fatalities over the previous 24 hours.
This is the biggest daily figure for new cases in the country of 10 million residents since March 15.