Faced with the resurgence of Covid cases and the predominance of the delta variant, 45 municipalities, including Lisbon and Porto, are under curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
The delta variant poses the threat of a summer under restrictions in Europe. Portugal, the first European Union (EU) state to announce that this variant has become the majority on its territory, is re-establishing a curfew in 45 municipalities, including Lisbon and Porto, as of this Friday. It will apply from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. The delta, discovered in India, accounted for more than 51% of new cases and even more than 70% in the Lisbon region, on June 27. The Portuguese capital is particularly affected by the resurgence of cases, with an average incidence rate of 438 over the last fourteen days. More broadly, it is the south of the Atlantic coast that is seeing its incidence rate skyrocket.
Faced with the increase in the number of cases since the end of May, the government had already taken measures, such as reducing the opening hours of cafes and restaurants in Lisbon and in two other municipalities. On Thursday, these restrictions were extended to sixteen additional municipalities. These establishments will have to close at 10:30 p.m. on weekdays and at 3:30 p.m. on weekends.
“The conditions are not met to say that the pandemic is under control”, recognized the Minister of the Presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva. At the national level, Portugal crossed the mark of 2,400 new cases in twenty-four hours, the highest figure recorded since mid-February. According to an expert, the number of new cases daily could reach 4,000 within two weeks, reports the Newspaper. Over the last five days, the average incidence rate is currently 202 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
Yet Portugal is carrying out an effective vaccination campaign. More than 55% of the population received at least one dose on June 30, compared to 50% in France. As of the same date, nearly 34% of the Portuguese were fully vaccinated. But the number of cases is increasing much faster in people under 40, who are less vaccinated. Currently, inoculation is only open to people over 30 in the country, before opening to 18-29 next week. This nighttime curfew will also apply to those vaccinated.
The President of the Republic, Marcelo de Sousa, defended a way “different” that of nationalized confinement. He recalled that the situation in hospitals was not that of last winter. In the most affected regions such as Lisbon, the number of people in intensive care has increased but remains stable “Below the red line”, according to Newspaper.