Portuguese government “wants to introduce Covid-tests for entry into restaurants”

Breaking news this morning is that the government is “studying the possibility of introducing Covid tests for access into restaurants”.

The measure is being finalised, says Observador but will not apply to lunchtime service during weekdays.

Part of the plan is to be able to re-open restaurants forced to close early at weekends in areas where transmission/ risk of catching the virus is ‘elevated’.

The idea is that clients, on presenting a negative test, will be able to eat beyond the current 3.30pm deadline on Saturdays and Sundays.

But there are still lots of ‘loose points’, not least what kind of tests would qualify for entrance? Explains Observador, could they be the autotests sold at pharmacies, could they be rapid tests actually done at the restaurant door, or would they have to be tests performed by pharmacies “like the ones currently demanded for people to leave the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon at weekends?”

To a certain degree there is strong inclination to run with autotests being sufficient. This would ‘open up the economy’ rapidly and mirror practice in other European countries, like Austria and Luxembourg.

But autotests are deemed not to be as reliable as those (much more expensive varieties) performed by pharmacies.

Explains Observador, autotests are more likely to be 80% accurate, while antigen tests offer 90% reliability, and PCR tests – described as the ‘gold standard’ – render a purported 98% accuracy (although this contention too is debatable click here).