The Prime Minister presents the next steps towards the recovery of the freedoms of Portugal, scotching the predictions of a “vaccine apartheid”

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The Prime Minister presents the next steps towards the recovery of the freedoms of Portugal, scotching the predictions of a “vaccine apartheid”


Prime Minister António Costa laid out the next steps towards reclaiming Portugal’s freedoms – scotching predictions of vaccine apartheid.

The focus will be on encouraging people to seize the opportunity for vaccination, without threatening them with exclusion from shops and / or supermarkets if they do not – as was the possibility discussed during Tuesday’s meeting at Infarmed.

In other words, the use of the Covid digital certificate (or the need to show negative tests) will continue in all areas where they are currently required (i.e. air travel, entry into hotels / accommodation and inside restaurants on weekends and public holidays). ), being extended only to entry into gym classes, spas, casinos, cultural events, weddings and baptisms.

That said, various restrictions currently in place will disappear as of Sunday August 1.

These include the limits on the opening hours of shops, restaurants and cultural events (which can take place until 2 a.m. every day), the night-time curfew of 11 p.m. in the municipalities high and very high risk, as well as the requirement to work remotely whenever possible. .

Indeed, the classification of municipalities according to risk has been completely abolished – at least for the moment.

Mr. Costa did not even mention the areas where transmission was the highest, or of concern, or whatever. All these municipalities “put on alert” last week can now relax: the country is once again treated “in the same way” throughout the national territory.

The presented “three-point plan” begins with the current situation where 57% of the country will be fully immunized by Sunday.

This plan allows events to take place according to DGS rules at 66% of their capacity and to restart fairground type rides (still according to DGS rules).

It is hoped that the country will reach “phase two” of the plan with 71% of the population fully vaccinated by September 5.

At this point, the use of masks in outdoor situations can be abandoned; the capacity for weddings, baptisms and cultural events can reach 75%; the capacity of public transport will be able to return to 100% and public services will be accessible without citizens having to make an appointment.

October 5 is the plan’s final date, when 85% of the population should have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Once this is achieved, bars and nightclubs will finally have the green light to reopen (we are not told if the Covid digital certificate will be a prerequisite for entry, but that, or a negative test for Covid-19, is very probable ).

Restaurants will be allowed to operate without capacity limits, indoors or on terraces – and in theory, Portugal will be fully “reopened” and ready for the future.

As the Prime Minister pointed out, this is a new disease: no one can predict exactly what will happen in the weeks and months to come – and basic self-protection measures must remain in place ( i.e. wearing masks in interior spaces, distancing, hand washing, etc.)

“Even though vaccines have reduced pressure on health services, reduced deaths and serious illness, the pandemic has not gone away,” he warned. And as Tuesday’s Infarmed meeting heard, new variations will be on their way – and some could be more virulent than others.

Returning to his withdrawal from the past according to which “if things get worse, we will have to rethink”, the Prime Minister was nevertheless confident, declaring “we hope that nothing like this will happen”.

The only “moot point” of today’s press conference was the government’s position on childhood immunizations.

Mr. Costa answered questions on this, leaving the final decision to the health authorities of the DGS.

Earlier this morning, the SIC newscast held a “public opinion window” on immunizing healthy children aged 12 and over, which clearly demonstrated that parents are as suspicious of it as children. pediatricians in the country.

But for now, the news is “good”: vaccination continues at a strong pace and the country is on track for a fall with “herd immunity”.

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