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Portugal set to drop most COVID-19 restrictions

Portugal set to drop most COVID-19 restrictions


The Portuguese Council of Ministers announced Thursday that the country will scrap most of its COVID-19 restrictions.

Among the main changes, which will be implemented “in the coming days” according to Minister of State Mariana Vieira da Silva, are ending of mandatory isolation after risky contacts, remote working recommendations and capacity limits in commercial establishments.

The negative test requirement for major events, sports venues, bars and nightclubs will also be dropped, and presentation of the COVID-19 digital certificate will no longer be mandatory, except at health care establishments and at the country’s borders.

“It is a very important moment,” said Vieira da Silva. It is “another step toward a return to a normal life.” The new strategy just needs final approval from Portugal’s president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

People must continue to wear masks in indoor spaces, such as public transport or supermarkets.

The government further said that it expects to lift all remaining coronavirus measures within the next five weeks. “We only stop having measures when we reach 20 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants,” Vieira da Silva added.

Portugal reported around 20,000 new cases on Wednesday, down from a peak of 65,706 cases on January 27. Widespread vaccination and the milder Omicron variant have kept deaths and hospitalizations well below levels seen in earlier waves.