Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Portugal to tighten COVID-19 restrictions nationwide as of Sept. 15; significant business and travel disruptions remain.

Alert Begins 11 Sep 2020 11:05 AM UTC
Alert Expires 30 Sep 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Movement and business disruptions

Authorities in Portugal will increase the emergency level to a state of contingency nationwide from Sept. 15, tightening a number of domestic restrictions. As of this date, the limit on public gatherings is reduced to 10 people, and this is further reduced to four people for catering establishments in shopping centers or within 300 meters (984 feet) of a school. Additionally, commercial shops are prohibited from opening before 1000 in order to reduce the number of people traveling during the morning rush hour; authorities in the Lisbon and Porto metropolitan areas also require workplaces to stagger start times and continue teleworking where possible for the same reason. Protective face coverings remain mandatory in enclosed public spaces nationwide. Previously most businesses and services were permitted to resume operation provided they implement strict hygiene and social distancing requirements.

Authorities in Portugal permit entry for travelers from the EU and Schengen Area countries, the UK, Australia, Canada, China, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay. Most travel from other countries remains prohibited except for limited essential reasons including EU citizens and residents returning home, reuniting with family, and for essential work or study. All such arrivals are required to submit a negative COVID-19 test taken within the previous 72 hours prior to boarding, excluding for Portuguese nationals and residents who may arrange for the test to be taken on arrival at their own expense. Direct flights from third countries for essential purposes have so far only been arranged with Portuguese-speaking countries and the USA.

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
Authorities in Portugal are taking these measures in order to mitigate the spread of the virus as people return to school and places of work. 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.

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.

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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