Today’s Council of Ministers has had to bite the bullet and face Portugal’s worsening virus-situation.
Greater Lisbon is back in weekend lockdown.
From 3pm tomorrow, there will be no authorised movement in or out of the capital until 6am on Monday.
Whether this elicits an exodus of vehicles tonight and tomorrow morning remains to be seen.
The last long weekend saw to it that thousands of city-dwellers travelled south for four-day holidays. Since then the number of new infections throughout the country has increased, though most markedly in Lisbon itself.
As minister for the presidency Mariana Vieira da Silva has explained, with results of the kind being flagged it will be ‘very difficult’ for the country to progress with its plans for further deconfinement.
Portugal is now “a long way” from the coveted ‘green zone’ of its risk matrix: incidence and Rt numbers are increasing, and the number of municipalities ‘at risk’ and/ or ‘on alert’ is substantial.
For the time being, 10 will not be joining the rest of the country in the current stage of deconfinement, 20 more are ‘on alert’, meaning they could go the same way unless their situations improve.
The seriousness of what is happening is coming in thick and fast.
As we wrote this article, Expresso declared that more than 1,000 people have become infected with Covid-19 after taking two doses of vaccine.
The ‘exclusive’ has not (yet) explained if these people are seriously ill (see next story to be uploaded), but experts yesterday suggested a number have ended up in hospital with worsening symptoms.
Meantime, the new rules affecting Lisbon are also affecting various other municipalities, including Albufeira and Loulé in the Algarve.
This means restaurants and cafés in these areas once again must close by 10.30pm; shops and commercial establishments by 9pm.
Further restrictions on events have been introduced in that ‘tests’ are to be substituted by Covid Digital Certificates – documents that only today became available on the SNS 24 portal and which are not that straightforward to organise.
Of all the changes and new restrictions, the municipality of Sesimbra appears to be the worst affected, being forced to close its restaurants, cafés and commercial establishments by 3.30pm at weekends.
The 20 municipalities on alert are: Alcochete, Águeda, Almada, Amadora, Barreiro, Grândola, Lagos, Loures, Mafra, Moita, Montijo, Odivelas, Oeiras, Palmela, Sardoal, Seixal, Setúbal, Sines, Sobral de Monte Agraço and Vila Franca de Xira.