Portugal, last European country to reintroduce containment measures

The country’s prime minister is the latest to announce new restrictions as winter approaches (Photo: EPA; Reuters)

Portugal has become the last European country to announce the return of restrictions linked to Covid-19.

Infection rates remain relatively low in the country, but the government is putting restrictions in place early as other parts of the continent face a fourth wave.

Several countries, including the Netherlands, Austria and Belgium, have confirmed in recent days a return to social distancing policies.

News from Portugal arrives the same day as the UK government has confirmed a number of southern African countries will be added to the red list.

Fears over a new virus prompted a swift passage to stricter travel restrictions for arrivals from Friday.

From December 1, all tourists entering Portugal will be required to take a pre-departure test, regardless of their vaccination status.

The compulsory wearing of masks in confined spaces will be reintroduced and Covid passports will be deployed in all restaurants, cinemas and hotels.

Even vaccinated people will have to provide a negative test result before they are allowed to go to hospitals, nursing homes, sporting events, bars and nightclubs.

Restricting the arrival of tourists to the country is among the measures rolled out in Portugal next month

The government has also recommended regular self-tests and working from home whenever possible.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa said the roll-out of booster injections was stepping up, adding that the move would help cut transmission before Christmas.

Authorities say there is currently no need for another lockdown in Portugal as hospitals are coping with it.

The Directorate General of Health officially reported 3,150 new cases on Thursday, including 691 people hospitalized, 103 in intensive care and 15 deaths.

The number of patients requiring hospitalization was the highest since September.

On November 1, Portugal reported fewer than 500 new infections, 360 people hospitalized, 60 in intensive care and five deaths, similar to those a month earlier.

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