Portugal re-imposes COVID-19 restrictions as number of cases rises

LISBON, Nov. 25 (Reuters) – Portugal, which has one of the world’s highest vaccination rates against COVID-19, announced it would again impose some restrictions to stop an increase in the number of cases, and all passengers flying it fly into country to be instructed to show a negative test certificate on arrival.

“No matter how successful the vaccination was, we need to be aware that we are entering a phase of greater risk,” Prime Minister Antonio Costa told a news conference on Thursday.

“We have seen (in some cases) significant growth 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 falling to 3,150 on Thursday. However, deaths remain well below January levels, when the country endured the toughest battle against COVID-19.

About 87% of Portugal’s population of just over 10 million people has been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and the rapid rollout of vaccinations is widely acclaimed. That has allowed it to lift most of its pandemic restrictions.

But as a new wave of pandemic sweeps through Europe, the government has reintroduced some old rules and announced new ones to limit the spread in the run-up to the holiday season. The measures will come into effect next Wednesday, December 1.

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

Costa also announced that those who have been fully vaccinated would also have to provide 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, going to the gym or dining indoors at restaurants.

Remote working is mandatory in the first week of January to curb the spread of the virus after the holidays.

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Reporting by Catarina Demony, Patrícia Vicente Rua and Sérgio Gonçalves; Editing by Toby Chopra and Susan Fenton

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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