The Portuguese are removing the masks. As of Monday, wearing a mask is no longer compulsory in Portugal. Parliament did not extend the law that had made the mask mandatory in the street since the end of October 2020 and lifted the measure given the reduction in the number of new cases of coronavirus. Wearing a mask is still recommended in the event of a gathering or when it is impossible to respect social distancing, said the Directorate General of Health in a directive published on Monday.
“Despite a high vaccination coverage in Portugal and an epidemiological situation which make possible a strategy of gradual relaxation of the public health measures taken in the context of the pandemic, the use of the mask remains an important containment measure infection, ”said the health authority. The mask thus remains compulsory in public spaces such as shops, public transport, schools or theaters.
The pandemic soon under control
A country of around ten million inhabitants, Portugal has nearly 18,000 dead by Covid-19. The wave of infections caused by the arrival of the Delta variant has ebbed from more than 3,000 new cases daily in July to less than half now. Almost 80% of the Portuguese population is already fully vaccinated, which places the Iberian country among the most advanced in the world in this area, like Malta and the United Arab Emirates.
When the threshold of 85% of people vaccinated is reached, the government plans a further reduction in health measures, with the end of the limits on the occupation of restaurants, shops and cultural spaces or the reopening of bars and nightclubs. “Thanks to the success of the vaccination, we are a few weeks away from being able to consider this pandemic under control,” Prime Minister Antonio Costa declared last Wednesday.