The Portuguese parliament has approved an extension of the state of emergency which was introduced due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) until December 8. The state of emergency allows for the government to keep current restrictions to address the spread of COVID-19 and reports suggest that the government is due to announce further measures on Saturday, November 21, which could include a localized tiered system.
At present, 191 municipalities are under an order which states that residents must remain at home between 23:00 and 05:00 (local time) on weekdays and between 13:00 and 05:00 during weekends. Shops and services with the exception of pharmacies and shops selling essential items are required to close from 13:00 on weekends and restaurants may only remain open to take away services after that time. Movement outside of these hours is only permitted for essential work, for emergencies, or to conduct exercise. A limit on gatherings of up to five people is also in places in these areas. A full list of affected areas can be found here. The autonomous region of Madeira has declared a state of calamity with shops and services that are no essential closing from 23:00. A regional state of alert is in place in the Azores.
Face masks remain obligatory in all indoor public spaces and outdoor public spaces where it is not possible to maintain a social distance of at least two meters (6 ft); masks are also mandatory on public transport.
As of Friday, November 20, there have been 249,498 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Portugal with 3762 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be 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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