Portugal puts more regions under virus restrictions
Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said Thursday that coronavirus restrictions already in force in most of the country, including a state of emergency and curfews, would be extended to new regions from Monday.
The number of municipal authorities facing "serious risk" of the virus spreading has increased from 121 to 191, Costa said, warning that "the situation is serious and worse than what we saw during the first phase of the pandemic" early this year.
"The message now is simple. You really have to stay at home, with very few exceptions," he added.
The number of people currently hospitalised with coronavirus in Portugal is almost double spring levels, at 2,800.
Monday's extension will bring the proportion of Portugal's 10 million inhabitants covered by a work-from-home order above the existing 70 percent.
The rule does not include closures of schools, shops, restaurants or cultural venues.
Meanwhile the curfew—from 11 pm weeknights and 1 pm on Saturdays and Sundays—and the state of emergency will definitely be extended past the existing November 23 cutoff, Costa said.
Regions with the highest numbers of infections will impose even stricter measures, he added, with some local authorities seeing more than 3,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last two weeks—far above the 240-case count needed to qualify for "serious risk".
Costa has been criticised in recent days for unclear communication about when people can go out despite the stay-home and curfew orders.
© 2020 AFP