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  • Writer's pictureJoana Wheeler

Portugal relieves anti-Covid restrictions: What changes?

Updated: Jul 14, 2022

The government implements solitary detention for dangerous contacts, telework is no longer recommended, but mask remains.


After hearing from experts and analysing data on the pandemic's progression in Portugal, the government has decided to lift some restrictions, including the containment of risky contacts, the teleworking recommendation, and the requirement for a digital vaccination certificate, with the exception of border control, among other measures that are expected to take effect in the coming days. Despite this, the government will continue to keep a close eye on the country's epidemiological situation.


Mariana Vieira da Silva, Minister of State and the Presidency, said after the council of ministers meeting on Thursday, February 17, 2022, that this new set of actions to remove the control constraints of Covid-19 constitutes a fresh step toward a return to citizens' regular lives.


""We are on the verge of taking another step toward normality," the minister of state and president stated, adding, however, that "now is not the moment to declare the pandemic to be gone." We are still at risk of new viral strains, and there is some doubt about the vaccine's long-term effectiveness "He said that he was up against Covid-19.


The President of the Republic is currently enacting procedures to ease the limits, which are likely to take effect in the coming days, according to the administration. Below you will see a guide to the new measures and what will be different.


Lifting of Covid-19 restrictions


End of containment of risk contacts


Only persons who test positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus will be isolated, therefore high-risk contacts will no longer be isolated.

"For risky contacts, there is no longer any option of detention. From the date of this resolution's implementation, only those who test positive, whether or not they have symptoms, will be detained ", Marian Vieira da Silva, Minister of State and the Presidency, said during a press conference.


What about the end of the asymptomatic's isolation? The Directorate General for Health is in charge of this initiative (DGS). Only the DGS, according to the minister, can forecast asymptomatic cases and the end of their isolation, but he assures that standards will be updated soon.


End of teleworking recommendation


Telework is no longer recommended, and the workplace has returned to “normality”. It is worth noting that, as of January 14, telework was no longer necessary and was only advised.



End of stocking limits in trade


The government has resolved to abolish capacity limits in public businesses, equipment, and other public spaces. That is, there will no longer be a limit of one person per five square meters in business locations.


Digital certificate required only in border control


With the exception of border control, where it remains an obligatory feature, the digital vaccination certificate against Covid-19 will no longer be required in the vast majority of cases.

In actuality, a digital certificate will no longer be required for admission to restaurants, tourism establishments and local lodging, gyms, cultural presentations, and events with marked locations.


End of negative test for cultural and sporting events, bars and nightclubs


The elimination of the requirement of negative testing for admittance to large events, sports stadiums, and bars and nightclubs was among the several measures announced to ease pandemic restrictions.

However, Mariana Vieira da Silva stated that masks will be required in both outdoor sporting venues (such as football stadiums) and music halls.

Measures against Covid are still in place.


Mask remains mandatory in enclosed public spaces


The minister stressed that masks must be worn in all situations where it is now required.


"In terms of mask use, it is still required in all instances where it is required today. In public areas, whether public services or commercial spaces indoors, in classrooms but not playgrounds, and in particularly big events, such as football stadiums, when access to the public is required despite being outdoors. At this point, the mask-wearing precautions are maintained "Mariana Vieira da Silva emphasized.


Visits to nursing homes, hospitals and other health facilities


Except for bearers of a recovery certificate or a full vaccination certificate with booster dose, a negative test is required.


Next phase may arrive within weeks


"These measures will remain in place until there is a considerable reduction in the number of deaths," the minister said, adding that they can only be increased "if the indicator for individuals hospitalized in intensive care units and deaths declines."

At the moment, "we have on average 63 deaths per million inhabitants every 14 days," he said, adding that the experts' goal, which the government will follow, is to eliminate all restrictions "when we reach 20 deaths per one million inhabitants every 14 days," an indicator from which he said they are still far away.


"This is a very important moment," Mariana Vieira da Silva said. "It is another step toward a return to a normal life that has been disrupted almost two years, and that is only possible thanks to the commitment of the Portuguese people and the their compliance with restrictive measures, the evolution of science and vaccines, as well as the civic sense of the Portuguese, who have been heavily vaccinated, the contribution of all health professionals, and the support of experience."

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