Live news: Portugal to end most restrictions as Covid cases fall

Portugal is dropping most of its Covid-19 restrictions as infection levels drop, but people who test positive for the virus will still be required to self-isolate, whether or not they have symptoms, the government said on Thursday.

Proof of vaccination will no longer be required to enter any venue, including hotels and restaurants, but certificates will still have to be shown when entering the country, Mariana Vieira da Silva, a cabinet minister, told a news conference.

People going to bars, nightclubs, sporting events and other large public venues will no longer have to show negative test results, she added, but they will remain a requirement for people visiting care homes or hospitals, unless they show proof of being fully vaccinated.

More than 95 per cent of Portugal’s population has been fully vaccinated, the third-highest percentage in the world after the UAE and Brunei.

Close contacts of people who have tested positive will no longer have to self-isolate, the minister said. A government recommendation that people work from home wherever possible will also be dropped and restrictions on the number of people allowed to enter shops and malls lifted.

Masks, however, will still be required in indoor public spaces, including cinemas, theatres, shops and public transport.

Portugal’s seven-day rolling average of new coronavirus cases has fallen from 541 per 100,000 people at the end of January to about 186, but remains higher than the EU average of about 156. The seven-day average number of daily deaths per 100,000 people has fallen from a peak this year of 0.5 earlier this month to just over 0.4, below the EU average.

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