In Portugal, authorities will increase the emergency level to a state of calamity nationwide from Oct. 15 until at least Oct. 31, tightening several domestic restrictions. The limit on public gatherings is reduced to five people, excluding for family events such as weddings limited to 50 attendees. Previous restrictions remaining in effect include a ban on the sale of alcohol in restaurants and bars after 2000 and a ban on consuming alcohol in public areas. Masks remain mandatory in enclosed public areas and are strongly encouraged in outdoor public areas. Most businesses and services were permitted to resume operation provided they implement strict hygiene and social distancing requirements. Tighter restrictions remain in effect in the Lisbon and Porto metropolitan areas.
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 before boarding, excluding for Portuguese nationals and residents who may arrange for the test to be taken on arrival at their own expense.
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 implemented in Portugal are similar to actions undertaken by other regional governments as part of ongoing efforts to curb 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.
Authorities could reintroduce sporadic, highly targeted measures in response to local COVID-19 outbreaks. Such measures could apply to neighborhoods or specific facilities, including schools, factories, or accommodation and office blocks. Mandatory social-distancing procedures in public places and on public transport, as well as widespread voluntary "self-policing" by residents, will assist in reducing the potential for contagion, negating the necessity for a large-scale, blanket reintroduction of significant restrictions.
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.