LISBON – Three-day Covid-19 travel ban imposed in the 18 municipalities of Lisbon’s metropolitan area, people banned from leaving from 3 p.m. on Friday until 6 a.m on Monday. Those living outside the area will not be allowed in.
Portugal, population 10 million, posted over 1,000 new COVID-19 cases for the third day in a row on Friday and the number of daily infections are back to late February levels when the country was still under lockdown.
Most new cases were reported in the Lisbon area.
A lockdown was imposed in January to tackle what was then the world’s worst coronavirus surge but most restrictions have since been lifted. The jump in infections comes less than a month after Portugal opened to visitors from the EU and Britain.
In a report on Friday, health institute Ricardo Jorge said the Delta coronavirus variant, which was first identified in India but is rapidly spreading in Britain, was likely to become the dominant variant in Portugal over the next weeks.
Portugal’s health system was on the verge of collapsing earlier this year and some hospitals in the city are already gearing up to treat more patients if needed. The number of people in hospital has increased in recent days.
The Ricardo Jorge institute also said on its Friday report that the virus was now spreading with “intensity” and the pressure on the health services was growing, particularly in Lisbon.