Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Portuguese authorities extend State of Emergency through at least April 17 due to COVID-19. Previous restrictions remain in place.

This alert affects Portugal

This alert began 03 Apr 2020 15:45 GMT and is scheduled to expire 17 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 17
  • Impact: Severe movement and business disruptions

Summary
Portuguese authorities extended the current state of emergency, due to expire April 3, through at least April 17 as part of the country's effort to combat the spread of COVID-19. Restrictions implemented under the state of emergency include a ban on unnecessary travel outside the home, for example to buy groceries or medical supplies or for exercise; a ban on gatherings of more than five persons from different households; and the closure of many nonessential private businesses and public institutions. Authorities will also ban all nonessential travel between municipalities and suspend all passenger air traffic for the Easter period April 9-13.

Previously, Portuguese authorities temporarily reintroduced border controls with Spain from March 16 through at least April 15. Air, rail, sea, and land travel between the two countries will be denied except for nationals and residents returning home, individuals with close family in Portugal, cross-border workers, diplomats, and freight transport. Flights from Italy are also currently suspended. All individuals entering the country, excluding freight and diplomats, will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days. A number of land border checkpoints have been closed to facilitate these restrictions. Processing delays are likely at open crossings.

All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice in response to government reviews and may receive updates or extensions in the coming days.

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.

Advice
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.

Resources
Ministry of Health COVID19 Hub: https://covid19.min-saude.pt

World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int