Nov 22, 2020 - Health

Portugal to ban domestic travel for national holidays as coronavirus cases surge

Passengers wear mandatory protective masks while riding on a bus in Avenida da Liberdade during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic on November 19, 2020 in Lisbon, Portugal.

Passengers wear mandatory protective masks while riding on a bus in in Lisbon, Portugal. Photo: Horacio Villalobos#Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Portugal will ban most domestic travel and close schools on the days around two upcoming national holidays, the country's ministry of health said Saturday.

Why it matters: Portugal recorded 6,472 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, per the health ministry. The country of 10 million ranks seventh in Europe for the number of total cases per 100,000 people and 14th for new deaths from the virus, Reuters reported, citing the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control figures.

  • Portugal recorded 62 new coronavirus deaths on Saturday, with 3,824 confirmed since the pandemic began.

Details: The country will ban travel between municipalities from 11 p.m. local time on Nov. 27 to 5 a.m. on Dec. 2, and from 11 p.m. on Dec. 4 to 5 a.m. on Dec. 9, Prime Minister António Costa said on Saturday, per Reuters.

  • Schools will close on the Mondays before the Dec. 1 and Dec. 8 holidays and businesses must shut early.
  • The ministry of health said masks, already mandatory in public and retail and other commercial spaces, must now be worn in workplaces, except in areas where this workstations are isolated.
  • An overnight curfew and weekend lockdown after 1 p.m. will continue in 174 municipalities with high infection rates for at least two more weeks, Costa said, Reuters reported.

What he's saying: "We continue to have a very high number of cases which is a threat to our health," Costa said in a news conference, per Reuters.

  • "We must persist to not only halt that growth rate but invert it."

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