Before learning how to protect myself it is important to understand what are coronaviruses and Covid-19 in particular; what are the symptoms,  how does it spread and how long is the incubation period. Knowing this basic information provides the reasons why the need for self protection measures are important.

Latest News 30th June 2021


Ordinance No. 138-B/2021 June 30th

Summary: Establishes an exceptional temporary co-payment scheme for rapid antigen tests (TRAg) for professional use, made to users of the National Health Service (SNS).

Download in informal English here


Latest News 16th June 2021


COVID-19 – National Testing Strategy for SARS-CoV-2

DGS Standard number: 019/2020; date: 10/26/2020; update: 06/15/2021

SUMMARY OF THE UPDATE – Definition of criteria for laboratory screening, namely in a work context, and for cultural, sporting and family events (points 22 to 25).



A. Molecular Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (TAAN):

i. are the gold-standard method for the diagnosis and screening of SARS-CoV-2 infection

ii. These include real-time, conventional RT-PCR and rapid nucleic acid amplification tests;

iv. As an alternative to respiratory tract samples, saliva samples can be used, particularly in children and in situations of screening in a community and/or occupational context.

B. Rapid Antigen Tests (TRAg):

i. They are point-of-care tests, must have analytical sensitivity equal to or greater than 90% and analytical specificity equal to or greater than 97% (compared to TAAN), with results obtained 15-30 minutes after their performance .

iii. Should be performed on samples from the upper or lower respiratory tract.



21. This Standard defines the Laboratory Testing Strategy for SARS-CoV-2 for the control of community transmission through regular laboratory screening, being its operationalization implemented by the Plan to Promote the Operationalization of Testing for SARS-CoV-2, and in accordance with the determination of the heads of the respective establishments or services, in articulation, when applicable, with the Occupational Health and Safety Services/Occupational Health and the territorially competent Health Authorities, among other intervening parties.

24. In the current epidemiological situation, for the purposes of paragraph 21 of this Standard, laboratory screenings must be carried out in the following contexts:

A. In family events, including wedding parties, baptisms and anniversaries, as well as any other similar celebrations, with gathering of people outside the household, to professionals (staff) and participants, whenever the number of participants exceeds 10;

B. In cultural or sporting events, to professionals (Staff) and participants/spectators whenever the number of participants/spectators exceeds 1000, in an open air environment, or greater than 500 when indoors;

C. For events of a cultural nature, whose ticket sales have already started on the date of publication of this update, whenever the number of participants/spectators corresponds to those indicated in the previous paragraph, it is recommended that the promoter assess the possibility of conducting screenings laboratory tests.

25. For the purposes of the provisions of the previous number:

A. Must be performed:

i, Rapid antigen test (TRAg), performed 48h before the start of the event; or

ii. Rapid antigen test in the self-test modality (nasal swab), on the same day and at the event location and under the supervision of a healthcare professional; or

iii. Nucleic acid amplification testing (TAAN) up to 72h before the event.

B. The positive results in the TRAg must be confirmed by TAAN, carried out within 24 hours, in order to guarantee the implementation of adequate and proportional Public Health measures, assuming the result obtained in the TAAN as valid;

C. The saliva sample can be considered for laboratory screening, using ONLY TAAN for this purpose;

COVID-19 – National Testing Strategy for SARS-CoV-2

What are Coronaviruses?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.

What is Covid-19

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell.

Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.

How is Covid-19 spread?

People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.

People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than  2 metres away from a person who is sick.

WHO is assessing ongoing research on the ways COVID-19 is spread and will continue to share updated findings.

How long is the incubation period of Covid-19?

The “incubation period” means the time between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms of the disease. Most estimates of the incubation period for COVID-19 range from 2-14 days, most commonly around five days. These estimates will be updated as more data become available.
Above information provided by WHO

How to protect myself?


The following information has been published officially by the DGS and through Decree laws – please see the DGS FB pages for more details.

This advice covers two situations, when an individual leaves the house, and again when they return home.

Wearing of masks and visors – Decree 10-A/2020 Article 13B Updated 21st June 2020 – Extract:

1 – The use of masks or visors is mandatory for access or permanence in the following places:
a) In commercial and service spaces and establishments;
b) In public buildings or buildings for public use where services are provided or acts involving the public take place;
c) In educational establishments and crèches by teaching and non-teaching staff and by students;
d) Inside theatres, cinematographic films or similar.
2-the obligation referred to in the preceding paragraph is waived when, depending on the nature of the activities, its use is impracticable.
3 – It is mandatory to wear masks or visors when using public transport for passengers.
4-for the purposes of the preceding paragraph, the use of collective passenger transport begins under the terms of paragraph 2 of article 2 of Law no. 28/2006, of 4 July, in its current wording .
5 – The obligation to use a mask or a visor under the terms of this article is only applicable to persons aged over 10 years.
6 – The obligation referred to in paragraphs 1 and 3 is waived upon presentation of:
a) Medical Certificate of Multipurpose Disability or medical declaration, in the case of people with cognitive, developmental and mental disorders;
b) Medical statement attesting that the person’s clinical condition is not consistent with the use of masks or visors.
7 – It is up to people or entities, public or private, who are responsible for the respective spaces or establishments, services and public buildings or means of transport, to promote compliance with the provisions of this article

Wearing of mask outdoors 

Decree 13-A/2021 Article 3 – Extending Decree 62-A/2020 from 1st April 2021 for a period of 70 days

1 – The use of a mask by people aged 10 and over is mandatory for access, circulation or permanence in public spaces and streets whenever the physical distance recommended by the health authorities proves impractical.

2 – The requirement referred to in the previous number is waived:

a) Upon presentation:

i) A medical certificate of multipurpose incapacity or medical declaration, in the case of people with cognitive, developmental and mental disorders;

ii) A medical statement attesting that the person’s clinical condition is not consistent with the use of masks;

b) When the use of a mask is incompatible with the nature of the activities that people are carrying out;

c) In relation to people who are part of the same household, when they are not in the vicinity of third parties.

Recommended Actions when out of the home:

– Wear long sleeved clothing to avoid unnecessary exposure.
– Wear a mask before leaving the house.
– Throw paper tissues in the bin immediately after use.
– Wash hands or use alcohol gel after touching any surfaces.
– Use paper towels to touch surfaces
– Cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
– Maintain a distance of 2 metres from other people.

Actions Best Avoided:
– Avoid using public transport, but when doing so ensure wearing of facemask and follow DGS guide.
– Avoid paying with cash, use other methods, but if used wash hands afterwards.
– Do not touch your face unless you have clean hands.
– Avoid unnecessary contact with other people, animals or objects.

Recommended Action on your return:
– The objective is to minimise the risk but it is recognised it is not possible to disinfect everything…
– Try not to touch anything before washing hands.
– Clean your mobile phone with the recommended wipes.
– Using gloves clean all areas which may be contaminated.
– Wash dog paws with suitable product for their skin.
– Wash outdoor clothes at 60 degrees

Useful Links For Every Day Life:

Those with impaired hearing now have access to a video call service platform at the Contact Centre of the National Health Service – SNS24.
More information here

General advice COVID-19:

The PDF leaflet for the following and more information can be downloaded at the foot of this page.

If you have any of these symptoms:

• Recurrent and persistent cough;
• Fever (37.5 degrees Celsius or higher)

You should preventively stay at home for 14 days, and call to SNS24 (808 24 24 24), which in
case of need will direct you for the most adequate healthcare institution.

Advice on staying at home:

• Don’t go to work, to school, to the pharmacy, or any healthcare unit or hospital
• Don’t share house divisions or clean it after every utilization;
• Avoid close contact with other people;
• Do not receive guests;
• Wash your hands before interacting with pets

When should I contact the National Health Service (SNS24)?

• When you feel your symptoms will not improve at home;
• When your condition detreorates;
• Your symptoms do not improve after 14 days;

How do I contact with the National Health Service?

The General Directorate of Health (DGS) supplies three ways to obtain access
to information

atendimento@sns24.gov.pt – to make questions about COVID-19 disease
Phone number SNS 808 24 24 24 – if you suspect you have COVID-19
Phone number 300 502 502 – to make questions about the period of quarantine, medical absence leaves to provide assistance to relatives.

What can I do to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus?

Director General of Health Portugal in line with the WHO recommends recommends hygiene measures, respiratory etiquette and food safety practices to reduce exposure and transmission of the disease:

Wash your hands frequently

Wash your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

Why? Washing your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water kills the virus if it is on your hands.

Practice respiratory hygiene

When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – discard tissue immediately into a closed bin and clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. In general, use a face mask as soon as you have other people around you.

Why? Covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing prevent the spread of germs and viruses. If you sneeze or cough into your hands, you may contaminate objects or people that you touch.

Maintain social distancing

Maintain at least 2 metres distance between yourself and other people.

Why? When someone who is infected with a respiratory disease, like 2019-nCoV, coughs or sneezes they project small droplets containing the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the virus.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Why? Hands touch many surfaces which can be contaminated with the virus. If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your contaminated hands, you can transfer the virus from the surface to yourself.

For more information, search in the microsite of the General Directorate of Health (Direção Geral da Saúde -DGS) https://www.dgs.pt/corona-virus