Prime Minister’s Announcement to nation following Council of Ministers meeting
The Prime Minister, António Costa, began this Tuesday’s post-Council of Ministers press conference by revealing that the strategies adopted about a month ago are showing results. “Whether from the point of view of vaccination, testing or border control we have managed to obtain effective results,” he said.
According to the Prime Minister, based on what was transmitted by INSA, at the end of the year Omicron should already be the dominant variant (about 90% of new cases), hence the need to take new measures at this time.
António Costa stated that Portugal should “prevent”. Therefore, the Government decided to move forward with a new package of measures, among them the extension of free tests from four to six per person (with Utente Number) each month.
The Government has decided to bring forward the special measures planned for January2nd-9th. According to the new rules, this period will start at 00h00 on 25th December.
- Teleworking is mandatory;
- Closure of Clubs and Nightlife bars (govern will create support measures for the companies);
- Closure of kindergartens and ATLs (govern will create support measures for the family).
From that time onwards, a negative COVID-19 test will be mandatory to access:
- Tourist establishments and local accommodation;
- Business events
- Cultural shows
- Sports venues (unless decided by the DGS);
- Family ceremonies such as weddings and christenings.
The allowed capacity in commercial establishments will also be reduced to one person for every five square metres.
António Costa also announced the measures that will be in force on 24 and 25 December and on 30 and 31 December and 1 January.
- A negative test will be mandatory for access to restaurants, casinos and New Year’s Eve parties;
- There will be a ban on gatherings of more than ten people on public roads on New Year’s Eve;
- The consumption of alcoholic drinks on public roads will be prohibited.
The Prime Minister explained that the measures adopted “extend until 10 January” and that the proposal presented by the epidemiologists heard by the Government suggests that on 5 January an evaluation of the existing situation will be made.
António Costa also left some recommendations for the approaching Christmas and New Year’s Eve, having appealed “to everyone so that they can contain the Christmas celebrations in their family nucleus”.
The Prime Minister also requested that, “whenever possible, ventilate the house and have the windows open”. “It is a cold night, but the ventilation of closed spaces is of the utmost importance to avoid the concentration of viruses and reduce the risk of contamination,” he said.
Costa also appealed to the population to wear masks whenever possible, even indoors, during the Christmas dinner and insisted on the need for everyone to test themselves before gathering for the Christmas Eve meal or lunches.
António Costa also revealed that the Directorate-General of Health (DGS) will announce between today and tomorrow the schedule for extending vaccination to new age groups. “We have to assume that the whole population will need a booster dose,” he added.
António Costa also said that there will be a day-off tolerance on 24 and 31 December for civil servants.