LISBON, Portugal (AP) – Portugal has tightened passenger entry requirements and introduced mandatory indoor masks to curb the upward trend in coronavirus infections as the country with one of the highest vaccination rates in Europe entered “disaster state” on Wednesday.
The crisis declaration, the second in Portugal this year, is one step below the state of emergency and gives the government the legal authority to impose stricter measures without parliamentary approval.
Masks are now required in gated public spaces, and people must show proof of vaccination, recovered from COVID-19 or negative virus tests to enter restaurants, cinemas, gyms and hotels. Nightclubs, hospitals, nursing homes and sports facilities should also require negative virus tests from visitors and patrons, including those who are vaccinated.
“We feel more comfortable with the dough. We do not leave the club with the thought: “Do I have COVID or not?” “Said Sara Lopez, a 21-year-old saleswoman, while queuing at a nightclub in downtown Lisbon when the new requirements took effect at midnight.
“It’s a bit of a hassle to make an appointment after a pharmacy appointment, but that’s okay,” Lopez said.
According to the new rules, the majority of arriving passengers must show negative test results at airports, seaports and on the land borders of Portugal.
Experts believe that the vaccination rate in Portugal, which is 87% of its more than 10 million inhabitants, is one of the highest in the world, has protected the country from the outbreaks of infection recently experienced by some other European countries.
However, the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients has been on the rise since September. On Tuesday, Portuguese authorities recorded 2,907 new cases and 15 deaths.
Portuguese authorities have confirmed an outbreak of a new variant of the coronavirus, omicron, among members of a professional football club and a healthcare professional in contact with them.