With the pandemic judged to be under control and the lowest indicators of deaths and hospitalizations by Covid-19 in eight months, Portugal is already advancing, this weekend, towards the last stage of its reopening process, announced the Premier. Minister, António Costa.
After being in effect for 173 days in the country, the state of emergency officially ends on Friday (30).
According to the Minister of Health, Marta Temido, Portugal “controls the pandemic”, but the virus has not yet been defeated.
“As much as the accumulated fatigue may be, it is still necessary to continue to fight the pandemic, because it is not over,” he said.
Due to start only next Monday (3), the fourth and final stage of the reopening has been brought forward to Saturday (1st), to coincide with the end of the state of emergency.
Restaurants, cafes and bakeries, which had to close at 1 p.m. on weekends, are open until 10:30 p.m. weekday hours.
Limitations on the maximum occupancy of tables remain, but with a slight increase in the size of the groups. Tables for up to ten people are allowed outside and six in closed spaces.
The anticipation of the reopening already for this weekend should have a very positive impact for restaurants, since Portuguese Mother’s Day is celebrated this Sunday (2).
The opening hours have also been extended to other activities. During the week, all stores and malls can stay open until 9 p.m. Weekends and public holidays, until 7 p.m.
Cultural shows are open until 10:30 p.m., but football matches remain unaddressed in the stadiums.
The mandatory home office determination for all workers who can work remotely is maintained until the end of the year.
Closed since March 2020, bars and nightclubs continue without plans to reopen.
To prevent restaurants from functioning as bars, the sale of alcoholic beverages will only be permitted with meals.
Almost the whole country is progressing towards a lack of definition, with the exception of seven communes – and part of an eighth – which, in two consecutive evaluations, extrapolated the incidence of 120 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days , established as a limit by the authorities.
They are left behind: Miranda do Douro, Paredes, Valongo, Aljezur, Resende, Carregal do Sal, Portimão and part of Odemira.
Several cities have, however, received a kind of yellow card from the government, for having already reached the limit of cases in an assessment. If the incidence does not decrease, they will be forced to return to the previous step.
To ensure a faster response to epidemiological developments, the government has decided to reduce the interval between assessments, which goes from fortnight to weekly.
“We have started a weekly evaluation because we are in a situation with less restrictive measures and in which we must act as quickly as possible”, declared the Prime Minister.
With the new scenario, the land border with Spain will also be reopened.
The current travel restriction for Brazilians, however, remains in effect. Only essential travel is permitted. In addition to having a negative PCR test performed 72 hours before departure, travelers are required to quarantine 14 days after arrival.
Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa called for collective responsibility during the reopening.
“The end of the state of emergency is not the end of the Portuguese responsibility, nor the end of the pandemic. Consequently, the pandemic is still there, the responsibility of the Portuguese must continue, as it always has been, ”he told journalists on Thursday (29), in Lisbon.
The decision to reopen was taken after a meeting with experts and politicians on Tuesday (29), which positively assessed the situation in the country and the health system.
FROM CHAOS TO REOPENING
Portugal managed to successfully control the first wave of Covid-19, but saw the situation spiral out of control in January, as the country for several days led the global ranking of new cases and deaths per million. inhabitants.
The situation had worsened since October, but was relatively under control until December.
According to experts, the expressive increase in new cases was linked to the relaxation of traffic and agglomeration measures during the Christmas period. While many countries in Europe have tightened the rules, Portugal has chosen to reduce them.
Under pressure from increasing cases and hospitalizations, the SNS (National Health System, Portuguese SUS) was on the verge of collapse, and the government even asked for international aid.
In an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the government imposed very flexible restrictions, which kept schools and universities open and with a few exceptions.
Such light containment “has not caught on” and diffusion rates have remained high. Portugal then left, on January 22, for an ultra-restrictive lockdown that closed almost the entire country.
The measure went into effect, and about a month later the country already had the lowest transmission rate of the virus in Europe. Still, the government was reluctant to reopen, which didn’t start until March 15. A process of reopening “dropper”, in the words of Prime Minister António Costa.
Today, the country is trying to speed up the vaccination of the population. Portugal, which has 10 million inhabitants, applied 3.23 million doses.
About 23.2% of Portuguese have already received the first dose of the immunizer and 8.51% have a full vaccination.
At the height of the pandemic, on January 31, the country hit a daily death record, with 303 deaths from Covid-19. Three days earlier, the maximum number of new cases was counted: 16,432.
In the past 24 hours, Portugal has recorded only one death and 470 new cases of the new coronavirus.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 836,033 confirmed cases and 16,974 deaths.