On October 1, the last health restrictions still in force will be lifted in Portugal, which has one of the highest vaccination rates against Covid-19 in the world, the government announced on Thursday.
“We are in a position to move forward to the third and final phase” of a “return to normalcy”, Prime Minister Antonio Costa declared after the weekly meeting of his government.
The compulsory mask in closed places
Closed since the arrival of the coronavirus in spring 2020, bars and nightclubs will be able to reopen their doors to customers with a health pass attesting to their vaccination or a negative test for Covid-19, said the head of the socialist government. . From now on, this same health pass will cease to be compulsory for staying in a hotel or having a meal inside a restaurant on weekends.
The capacity limits for shops, cafes and cultural spaces will also be lifted from next Thursday, but the mask will remain compulsory in closed places. This new step in the lifting of restrictions comes as planned by the plan unveiled at the end of July, while the country is expected to reach “in the course of next week” its goal of vaccinating 85% of its population of around 10 million. ‘inhabitants, said Antonio Costa. Portugal had 83.4% of people fully vaccinated Thursday, the highest level in the world ahead of Malta and the United Arab Emirates.
A level close to that post-containment
Unlike other countries, Portugal has not started administering a third dose of the vaccine and, for now, only plans to do so for the most vulnerable people. Among the first European countries to be affected by the more contagious Delta variant, Portugal has caused this fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic to ebb by accelerating its vaccination campaign.
The number of new cases on a sliding average over seven days, has dropped to less than 1,000 daily contagions against more than 3,000 at the end of July. At the same time, the number of people hospitalized has halved, to less than 500 patients. “We are now very close to the point where we were last March”, after two months of strict confinement decreed to stem the wave of contagion from the Alpha variant, which had overwhelmed Portuguese hospitals at the beginning of the year.