LISBON, Portugal (AP) – Portugal is restoring strict pandemic restrictions, less than two months after removing most of them when the goal of vaccinating 86% of the population against COVID-19 was reached.
A recent rise in coronavirus infections has forced the government to act, Prime Minister António Costa said on Thursday, although he noted that his country had not seen an increase of the magnitude seen elsewhere in Europe.
From December 1, the wearing of a face mask will again be compulsory in confined spaces; a digital certificate proving vaccination or recovery from the coronavirus must be presented to enter restaurants, cinemas and hotels; and even vaccinated people must test negative to visit hospitals, nursing homes, sporting events, and bars and clubs.
In addition, anyone arriving on a flight from abroad must present a negative test result.
The government has also recommended regular self-tests and working from home whenever possible.
The rollout of booster injections is intensifying, Costa said.
The measures are needed, Costa said, because of the increase in cases in some other EU countries, because the approaching winter usually brings more respiratory infections and because families will be in close contact with Xmas.
Authorities say there is currently no need for another lockdown in Portugal as hospitals are coping with it.
The Directorate General of Health officially reported 3,150 new cases on Thursday, including 691 people hospitalized, 103 in intensive care and 15 deaths. The number of patients requiring hospitalization was the highest since September.
On November 1, Portugal reported fewer than 500 new infections, 360 people in hospital, 60 in intensive care and five deaths. These numbers were similar to those a month earlier.
Nearly 18,400 people have died from COVID-19 in the country of about 10.3 million.
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