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Mariana Vieira da Silva, Portuguese Minister of State, announcing the measures at a press conference, Source: Government of Portugal

Portugal extends anti-pandemic restrictions yet again

Portugal extends anti-pandemic restrictions yet again

This time the measures will spread over 45 municipalities in the country

Another bleak weekend is in the works for Portugal after Covid-19 cases, linked to the Delta variant, continued to rise in the country. The new cases seem to be especially prominent among younger and non-vaccinated people. As a result, the National Government has decided to impose a night curfew between the hours of 11:00 pm and 5:00 am in 45 municipalities.

The highest daily levels of Covid infections since mid-February

Since the start of the pandemic, Portugal has recorded 17,101 deaths and 882,002 cases according to official data. 2,000 new infections were added on the last day of June.

"We are not in a position to consider the pandemic under control and I appeal to everyone to continue to comply with the rules and avoid risky behaviour," stated the Minister of State and Presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva. She underlined that "in the last week the situation deteriorated again" and that "the Mainland currently has an incidence factor of 176.9 and an R number of 1.15, the R being lower than last week, but the incidence being the highest'.

The Minister of State reported that the incidence was elevated in all groups under the age of 34, meaning that the Delta variant did not discriminate per age. The other risky group were people who have not yet received a vaccine.

The trends are worrying

Last week, only 3 municipalities were considered to be ‘very high risk’ – this week their number has jumped to 19. That means that these are places where 240 or more cases per 100 thousand inhabitants have been recorded.

In these, in addition to limiting circulation on the public road between 11:00 pm and 5:00 am, more rules apply. These are: mandatory teleworking (whenever the functions allow it); cultural shows close at 10:30 pm; gyms operate without group classes; no high-risk sports; weddings and baptisms have a maximum capacity of 25%; the restaurants, cafes and patisseries, will stay open until 10:30 pm during the week, and until 3:30 pm at the weekend and on public holidays, with a maximum of 4 people per group inside and 6 people per group on the terrace; retail trade is open until 9 pm on weekdays and until 7:00 pm on weekends and holidays.

In the 26 'high risk' municipalities, there are similar measures with regards to curfew, but the number of people who can attend restaurants is higher (6 in the interior, 10 on the terraces) and retail trade will close at 9:00 pm every day. Also, there is no mention of limitations on sports activities.

The authorities will likely also speed up vaccination efforts. So far, more than 50% of the population has received one dose and 32% - two doses.

Here is a detailed list of the 'very high risk' municipalities: Albufeira, Almada, Amadora, Barreiro, Cascais, Constância, Lisbon, Loulé, Loures, Mafra, Mira, Moita, Odivelas , Oeiras, Olhão, Seixal, Sesimbra, Sintra, and Sobral de Monte Agraço.

As for the 'high risk' ones, these are:  Alcochete, Alenquer, Arruda dos Vinhos, Aviz, Braga, Castelo de Vide, Faro, Grândola, Lagoa, Lagos, Montijo, Odemira, Palmela, Paredes de Coura, Portimão, Porto, Rio Maior, Santarém, São Brás de Alportel, Sardoal, Setúbal, Silves, Sines, Sousel, Torres Vedras and Vila Franca de Xira.

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