EU’s most vaccinated country returns to a ‘state of calamity’
Portugal has the highest rate of vaccination of the 27 member states of the EU, but on Thursday, November 25, it elected to go back into a ‘state of calamity’. This will come into force from Wednesday, December 1. Immediately after the Christmas holiday period, the country’s citizens will also be confined for the first week of January.
The ‘state of calamity’ involves the use once again of facemasks inside closed areas, and the implementation of Covid digital certificates for entry into restaurants, touristic establishments, cultural events, and gyms. Obligatory testing is also necessary when visiting old folk’s homes, to patients in health units, or to enter sports and cultural events, plus for bars and discotheques.
People are urged to self-test before family gatherings, particularly over the festive period, with working from home also being asked for where possible, to avoid excess contacts.
On Wednesday 24, Portugal registered 3,773 new Covid cases, the highest daily figure for four months. On Thursday 25, the total dropped to 3,150. Deaths remain well below the levels recorded in January, when the country faced its toughest battle against the virus.
At a press conference on Thursday 25,Prime Minister Antonio Costa said, “No matter how successful the vaccination is, we must be aware that we are entering a phase of increased risk. We have seen significant growth of cases in the EU, and Portugal is not an island”.
He added, “Reaching the 85 per cent mark of vaccinations in Portugal did not end the pandemic. It allowed us to reduce cases, hospitalisations, and deaths, and has left us in a better position than the rest of Europe. We all want to have a safe Christmas, and, most of all, that we can resume our life safely after the festive season”.
Around 87 per cent of the Portuguese population of just over 10 million inhabitants is fully vaccinated, and the rapid implementation of vaccination in the country has been widely praised. This has allowed it to lift most of its restrictions due to the pandemic.
But, as another wave of the pandemic sweeps across Europe, the government reintroduced some old rules, and announced new ones, to limit the spread in the run-up to the holiday season, as reported by larazon.es.