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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."

Go deeper: Europe's brutal coronavirus surge begins to ease after restrictions

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Updated 22 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Louisiana officials find "probable" Omicron case in cruise ship COVID outbreak — CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise" — Two years of COVID-19.
  2. Vaccines: Data demonstrates most-vaccinated counties less vulnerable to worst of COVID — Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters.
  3. Politics: NYC to impose vaccine mandate on private employers — Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy.
  4. World: U.S. announces $400M for global COVID vaccine distribution — Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles downWHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Jan 29, 2021 - World

EU grants conditional approval of AstraZeneca vaccine

Photo: Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The European Commission on Friday granted conditional approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for people 18 years and older.

Why it matters: This is the third vaccine to receive approval from the commission, coming hours after the Emergency Medicines Agency recommended its authorization.