The corona situation in Portugal is easing somewhat, at least with regard to the number of new infections and thus incidences. For a few days now, the values have been falling, albeit still high. The hospitals are still at their limit, the intensive care beds are almost all occupied – and the pressure on the health system could increase in the near future if you take into account that hospital admissions for severe Covid 19 courses are delayed.
Portugal is one of the countries where a dreaded mutated form of the virus, the British variant B.1.1.7, is currently spreading the fastest. The country has therefore been a virus variant area since January 27, 2021. It had already been classified as a high incidence area by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) three days earlier because of its high number of infections.
The federal government has imposed a transport ban for Portugal. According to the Federal Ministry of Health, this affects passenger transport by train, bus, ship and plane. The ban has been in effect since January 30, 2021, initially until February 17, 2021. Entry and exit are only possible in exceptional cases. German nationals and people who live in Germany can continue to travel to Germany, but have to expect restrictions in air traffic. Entry into Portugal is also restricted. (More on entry rules below.)
Portugal no longer has the highest incidence in the world
Due to the declining number of new corona infections, Portugal is currently no longer the country with the highest incidences in the world, but it still ranks way ahead, like Data from Our World in Data demonstrate. The number of deaths also shows how dramatic January was: a total of 5,576 people died after an infection in the first month of the year. That is 44 percent of the total corona deaths in Portugal.
On January 28, the previous pandemic peak was reported with 16,432 new infections. The country also recorded the highest number of deaths within a day on January 28 and again on January 31, with 303 deaths each.
According to TRAVELBOOK calculations, the 7-day incidence is currently 436.75, after having been more than 800 for weeks. There are currently 145,090 active Covid-19 infections in the country – tendency: downward. The hardest hit region is the Greater Lisbon Area, which has a 7-day incidence of more than 600. The Azores have already fallen below the 7-day incidence of 50, which is a guideline for the RKI.
German helper team supports on site
Faced with the pressure on the overburdened health system, Portugal asked EU partners for help. Both Austria – through the admission of intensive care patients – and Germany support the country.
Last Wednesday (February 3rd) an Air Force transport plane brought a team of eight doctors and 18 nurses to Lisbon. In addition, 50 ventilators, 150 infusion devices and 150 hospital beds were delivered. The team of helpers will initially work for three weeks in a private hospital in Lisbon.
Corona situation in Portugal – overview
- The applicable measures / regulations
- Current infection situation in Portugal
- What applies to returnees from Portugal
- Do I have to be in quarantine if I enter Portugal from Germany?
- Portugal’s corona insurance for travelers
The applicable corona measures in Portugal
Portugal is currently in a tough lockdown; the health emergency applies, which has already been extended several times. The so-called “estado de emergência” had already been proclaimed in the spring and is associated with some important restrictions and obligations for citizens – including holidaymakers. It also enables the government to impose numerous other measures. These include the Possibility of mandatory measurement of body temperature, for example at work, in passenger traffic, in educational institutions, shopping centers, sports and cultural facilities, as well as the Possibility to make corona tests mandatory and to request them (e.g. when entering and leaving the country, in health and educational institutions, nursing homes and prisons).
Furthermore, the government can request the necessary resources from the private and social sectors for measures and activate certain groups of people to support contact tracing, for example teachers who are currently not used for teaching or soldiers.
What the hard lockdown in Portugal means
In essence, the current lockdown in Portugal includes the same regulations as in spring: Almost all shops have to close, with the exception of those institutions that are important for public life and guarantee basic services to the population. Compared to the spring lockdown 2020, there was initially one decisive difference: daycare centers, schools and universities remained open. In view of the exploding numbers, however, educational institutions and daycare centers are now also closed. Furthermore, i.a. the following measures:
- There is a general curfew. Grocery shopping, visits to the pharmacy or other important errands (visits to the doctor, caring for relatives, etc.) are possible.
- Obligation to work from home wherever possible
- Increase in penalties for violating rules
- Closure of hairdressing and beauty salons, fitness studios and cultural institutions (theaters, cinemas, museums, etc.)
- Closure of clubs, zoos, theme parks and casinos
- Restaurants, bars and cafes are only allowed to offer an out-of-home service.
- Individual sport remains possible.
- Top division sports and sports at national level are allowed, but without an audience.
The following rules and obligations also apply
- General mask requirement outdoors
- Obligation to use a Mouth and nose protection in public transport and shops.
- Maintain a minimum distance of two meters in public spaces.
- Urgent recommendation to install the Corona warning app “Stayaway Covid” (Google play | Apple App Store).
- Consumption of alcohol in public is prohibited.
- No sale of alcoholic beverages at petrol stations.
The corona infection situation in Portugal
The 7-day incidence in Portugal
There are currently a total of 145,090 active Covid-19 infections in Portugal. The 7-day incidence in Portugal by region at a glance according to TRAVELBOOK calculations:
- Portugal as a whole (including Azores and Madeira):436.75
- Greater Lisbon: 635.22
- North: 292.35
- Algarve: 327.27
- Azores: 44.07
- Madeira: 359.48
Also interesting: “Portugal pays high price for Corona sledding course”
The RKI classifies a country or region as a risk area in a two-stage process: “First of all, it is determined in which states / regions there were more than 50 newly infected people per 100,000 inhabitants in the last seven days,” says the RKI Page. In a second step, qualitative criteria are used to determine whether there is a risk of an increased risk of infection for states / regions that nominally fall below the specified limit value. Criteria are:
- Infection numbers
- Type of outbreak (localized or extensive)
- Test capacities and tests carried out per inhabitant
- measures taken to contain the infection process
- Reliability of the information
Which applies to those returning from Portugal
Portugal is a so-called virus variant area; there is a travel warning from the Federal Foreign Office. Particularly strict regulations apply to people who have stayed in a virus variant or high-risk area in the ten days prior to their entry into Germany. According to the RKI, these include:
- Proof (medical certificate or test result) that there is no infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus upon entry. Test must not be older than 48 hours.
- Proof must be presented to the carrier (train company, airline, etc.) for verification.
- The federal police can demand proof of the checks.
- Carriers can perform tests in the absence of evidence.
In addition, travelers must digitally before entering the country Sign in and put themselves in a ten-day quarantine immediately upon arrival. The regulations of the federal states apply here.
Do I have to be in quarantine if I enter Portugal from Germany?
There is currently no quarantine requirement for holidaymakers from Germany when they visit mainland Portugal.
However, since January 31, 2021, according to the Foreign Office, entry by land has only been possible “if proof of residence in Portugal (usually the” Certificado de Registo de Cidadão da União Europeia “) can be proven or for professional ( Frontier commuters) or commercial purposes. ”The border officials decide on other exceptions. These entry restrictions apply initially for 14 days.
When entering from Germany by air, the airline must currently be presented with a negative PCR test prior to departure, which is no more than 72 hours old. Exception: children under two years of age.
In order to be able to ensure contact tracing, passengers entering the south-western European country by air must use a “Passenger Locator” form to provide information on the destination and accessibility during their stay. In addition, body temperature is measured at the airport by infrared cameras. If this exceeds 38 degrees, travelers must expect further examinations and quarantine.
Different regulations apply to the Azores and Madeira: For example, a negative corona test that is not older than 72 hours is required upon entry. If you don’t have a test, you can do it on arrival and must remain in quarantine until the test result.
Corona insurance for travelers to Portugal
What does the insurance include?
Since Portugal is heavily dependent on tourism, the country now also offers travelers corona insurance for a fee – in cooperation with the company Bónus Seguros. The insurance takes effect in the event of “unforeseen events in connection with Covid-19” and enables reimbursements in the event of flight cancellations or interruptions, according to the Portuguese or English-language website of Portugal Travel Insurance. However, if you take a closer look at the services included, you will notice that they are kept quite general. For example, support is guaranteed in the event of luggage theft in Portugal – which has nothing to do with Covid-19.
More relevant for holidaymakers are the services listed under “Full coverage in the event of unforeseen situations”. In the event of illness, the insurance offers:
- Medical and hospital costs covered in Portugal
- Coverage of aftercare costs in the event of a hospital stay
- Cover for return travel costs in the event of illness or accident
Corona insurance prices for Portugal
The cost of the insurance depends on the length of stay in Portugal.
- up to 10 days: 37.20 euros per person
- 10 to 15 days: 43.20 euros per person
- 16 to 30 days: 48.20 euros per person
- 30 to 60 days: 65.20 euros per person
“The government is responsible for the situation”
“I am currently only experiencing the situation in Portugal from afar, but I am in regular contact with my family who live there. My aunt wrote to me: ‘We are all afraid here, there are too many Corona cases, with friends, colleagues and ex-colleagues.’ My mother experiences the situation on site as more and more ‘dramatic’. For months she has rarely left the house to go to the supermarket. She has not met the relatives since the summer. But not all Portuguese adhered to the rule of restricting contacts so strictly. Many families met, especially on Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The consequences of this were shown in the very high numbers of infections. The hesitant action of the Portuguese government in recent months must be viewed critically. In order not to plunge the country’s economy deeper into the crisis, the decision was made much too late for a hard lockdown. The government could have prevented the current situation and the many deaths by taking decisive action. ” Nuno Alves, Editorial Director TRAVELBOOK
With material from Reuters