Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Portugal on April 30 announce multistep COVID-19 exit plan; first phase to start on May 4. Certain restrictions lifted.

This alert affects Portugal

This alert began 01 May 2020 21:16 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Easing of restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Severe movement and business disruptions

Authorities in Portugal on April 30 announced a multistep coronavirus disease (COVID-19) exit plan; the first phase of the plan will commence on May 4.

The following measures will apply:

  • Small trade shops with spaces of up 200 square meters (2100 square feet) are allowed to reopen.
  • Car shops and bookstore,s regardless of size, are allowed to reopen.
  • Only one customer per 20 square meters of space is allowed; a minimum of two meters (7 feet) has to be maintained between customers; stores can open only after 1000.
  • Individual sporting activities, such as tennis and golf, are allowed to resume.

The second phase of the plan is expected to commence no earlier than May 18, when authorities plan to reopen restaurants, museums, cafes, nurseries, and schools for students in the 11th and 12th grades.

Measures that will remain in place in Portugal include:

  • A ban in place on movement outside the home, unless to acquire groceries or medical supplies or for exercise
  • A ban on gatherings of more than five persons from different households is enforced.

Portugal has temporarily introduced border controls with Spain through May 15. Air, rail, sea, and land travel between the two countries is halted, except for nationals and residents returning home, individuals with close family in Portugal, cross-border workers, diplomats, and freight transport. Airports in the country remain open; flights from Italy are currently suspended. All individuals entering the country, excluding freight and diplomats, will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Officials have closed several land border checkpoints to facilitate these restrictions. Processing delays are likely at open crossings.

Implementation of future recovery stages is contingent upon no major increase in disease activity over the coming weeks. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other European governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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