Nightclubs to open and tests still required to enter Portugal. These are the new Covid-19 measures

Prime minister António Costa announced on Thursday new measures to keep containing the Omicron variant.

After the so-called “containment period”, from January 2 to 9, the Portuguese government advances with new measures to keep containing the Omicron variant, which, according to the National Health Institute Doutor Ricardo Jorge (INSA), is now responsible for almost 90% of infections in Portugal.

In today’s Cabinet meeting briefing, prime minister António Costa reiterates that despite the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant, which has put Portugal “at new highs of infections that will continue in an increasing trend”, it has been “very evident that this variant offers less severity and with a high level of vaccination”.

“Having more cases than a year ago, we have a much lower number of admissions, in ICU and deaths to mourn,” he says.

Therefore, due to the reduced severity of the variant and the high vaccination coverage, Omicron is having a “lower impact” on people’s health and the health system in general. For this reason, the prime minister says the country “can proceed next week with caution.”

“Caution” means that the government will allow nightclubs and bars to open doors starting on January 14, but it will prohibit the consumption of alcohol on the street. It should also be noted that to enter Portugal, a negative test continues to be required, even for those who have a vaccination certificate.

Measures to be implemented starting on January 10:

  • A negative test will continue to be needed for all flights arriving in Portugal, even for those who have a digital vaccination certificate, regardless of the point of origin of the flight or the passenger’s nationality;
  • For people without a Covid-19 booster shot, a negative test will be required for access: Sports venues; nightclubs and bars, nursing homes, large events and events without assigned seats;
  • Prohibition of alcohol consumption on the street;
  • Reopening of bars and nightclubs on January 14;
  • Reduced capacity in commercial establishments (1 person /5m2) maintained;
  • Teleworking regime is still mandatory until January 14.

2,000 passengers and 38 airlines have already been fined

Since the beginning of December, the authorities have fined 2,000 passengers and 38 airlines for failure to comply with the measures decreed by the government in terms of border control, due to the pandemic. António Costa revealed that more than 1.2 million people and 11,000 flights had been checked.

These numbers corroborate those advanced by the Ministry of Internal Administration earlier this week, which reported 1.18 million passengers and 10,834 flights checked by the Portuguese Police and the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF).

In this period, 1,963 administrative offence notices were issued, of which 1,234 were raised by the Portuguese Police – which controls passengers from flights coming from the Schengen area – and 729 by the SEF – which supervises travellers coming from countries outside the Schengen area.

(article last updated at 2h02 pm)