On Tuesday, September 15, the rest of mainland Portugal moves from a state of alert to join Lisbon in being under a state of contingency, with the government imposing tighter restrictions. As applied already in Lisbon, private and public gatherings are limited to a maximum of ten people and shops and other nonessential services will only be permitted to open from 10:00 (local time) and close between 20:00 and 23:00 depending on location. There are exceptions for restaurants, supermarkets, chemists, sports facilities, petrol stations, veterinary practices, and medical clinics. The sale of alcohol is banned at service stations and after 20:00 in shops, including supermarkets. The government has also called on companies in the metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Porto to stagger start times for employees and to adopt other timetable methods to avoid congestion on public transport at the start and end of the working day.
Travel to Portugal is permitted from the European Area, the UK, Australia, Canada, China, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay. Those arriving will be subject to temperature screening at airports and ports. Those from outside these countries are only permitted to travel to Portugal for essential purposes and require proof of a negative COVID-19 test carried out 72 hours prior to departure.
As of September 15, health authorities have confirmed 64,596 cases of COVID-19 in Portugal, and 1871 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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