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Portugal is rolling back some stringent pandemic restrictions, less than two months after eliminating most of them when the target of vaccinating 86% of the population against COVID-19 was met.


The recent rise in coronavirus infections forced the government to act, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Thursday, though he said his country had not seen a rise on the scale seen elsewhere in Europe.

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From December 1, wearing face masks will once again be mandatory in enclosed spaces; A digital certificate proving vaccination or recovery from the coronavirus must be shown to enter restaurants, cinemas and hotels; And even those vaccinated must have a negative test to go to hospitals, elderly care homes, sporting events and bars and discos.

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In addition, everyone flying from abroad must submit a negative test result.

The government also recommended regular self-testing and work from home whenever possible.

The rollout of booster shots is being accelerated, Costa said.

People wearing protective masks walk the streets of Lisbon’s Graca district. 18 November 2021. Portugal, which leads the list of countries with the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the world, is considering new restrictions to deal with a possible situation.

The measures are needed, Costa said, because of a rise in cases in some other EU countries, because a near winter usually brings more respiratory infections, and because families will be in close contact over Christmas.

Officials say another lockdown is not currently needed in Portugal, as hospitals are coping.

related: WHO: Europe could see another 700K COVID-19 deaths by spring

The General Directorate for Health officially reported 3,150 new cases on Thursday, with 691 people in hospital, 103 in intensive care units and 15 deaths. The number of hospitalized patients was the highest since September.

On 1 November, Portugal reported fewer than 500 new infections, 360 people hospitalised, 60 in intensive care and five deaths. Those numbers were the same as a month ago.

Nearly 18,400 people have died from COVID-19 in a country of about 10.3 million.