New measures on mainland

Council of Ministers must approve new measures today

Council of Ministers must approve new measures today

The mainland edition of the Diario reports that the Council of Ministers must approve new measures today to contain the pandemic, a day after having heard the experts and at a time in Portugal when it beats records of infections, but with controlled hospital pressure, in common with other countries in Europe, including the UK.

Antonio Costa’s executive meeting takes place about two weeks after the Council of Ministers on December 21, which approved new restrictions and anticipated other measures to respond to the worsening of the COVID-19 pandemic, due to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, which is more transmissible than the Delta variant.

Since that date, in which 5,754 cases were registered, the number of infections has soared significantly in Portugal, even surpassing 30,000 on December 31 and with several days above 20,000. On Wednesday, there was a new high of 39,570 infections. Hospital pressure has also increased since then, but at a much slower pace, being just over half the critical limit of 255 beds occupied in the intensive care units of hospitals in mainland Portugal, but with disparities between various regions.

Mandatory use of masks?

The mandatory use of masks in public spaces is one of the measures that the Government can determine today, if it deems it necessary since the transitional regime enacted by the President of the Republic at the end of November grants the Council of Ministers this possibility, without authorization of parliament.

Given the exponential increase in daily infections, the Portuguese are subject, in the context of the country’s calamity, to various restrictions that will end next Sunday, according to the resolution approved on December 21st.

In addition to making teleworking mandatory, the Government anticipated the closure of daycare centres and workshops for leisure time, as well as discotheques and bars with dance space, but providing support for families and companies. The occupation limit of one person for every five square meters in commercial spaces was also established, with the exception of establishments providing services.

The Government also implemented rules for access to tourist establishments and local accommodation, which became dependent on the presentation of the digital test or recovery certificate, or proof of a test with a negative result. This rule is also now applied to family parties, such as weddings and
baptisms, and to corporate, cultural and sporting events, with the Directorate-General for Health defining the conditions under which the presentation of certificates or the test is waived.

The reopening of schools, after the Christmas break, was postponed to next Monday, a date that will remain, confirmed the Deputy Secretary of State and Health, Lacerda Sales, who ruled out the possibility of a further postponement due to the increase in the cases of infection registered in the country.

Update:

Later today (Thursday) it was announced the Council of Ministers had decided to reopen schools on the 10th, as planned, but has extended teleworking and discothèques closing until January 14th.

In addition to what was open or planned, and given the high number of people infected with the disease, especially with the new Ómicron variant, the closure of bars and clubs was announced until January 14 and the mandatory telework regime and from that date onwards “recommended”.

The test requirement for access to bars and clubs and the ban on the consumption of alcoholic beverages on public roads will be maintained . Such as negative tests for home visits, patients admitted to health care facilities, large events, unmarked events and makeshift venues. The same applies to sports venues.

There will only be exemption from testing in the last cases for those who have had a booster dose for more than 14 days.

The maintenance of border control is also maintained, with mandatory negative testing for all flights arriving in Portugal and sanctions for airlines that violate this rule.

Digital certificates continue to be required in restaurants, tourist accommodation establishments, cultural shows, venue marked events and gyms. António Costa assured that on the 14th day of the booster dose of the vaccine against covid-19, this certificate will be automatically updated.

See here all the decisions taken by the Government pertaining to the mainland. There is no requirement for the Autonomous Region of Madeira to follow this new set of measures. Details of the latest measures applying in the archipelago can be found on the link below.

COVID-19 in Madeira: daily updates can be found in an earlier post

Travel latest: requirements for entering and leaving Madeira: is kept up-to-date on a previous post

New restrictions: a detailed updated explanation of the latest regulations can be found here

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